Elder Fraud: ‘Grandparent Scams’ Continue to Rising | How to Protect Seniors Against Them

Elderly fraud is real and it’s happening everywhere. The numbers are increasing, and scammers can strike at any time while waiting for their next-oldest victims.

According to the FBI’s 2021 Elder Fraud Report, Americans over 50 have lost $3 billion since 2021 due to these cyberattacks. That’s a $62 increase from 2020 data, the U.S. Department of Security says.

What is Elder Fraud?

Elderly Scam On Alert!  Seniors are at risk of falling for this scam

(Photo: GEORGES GOBET/AFP via Getty Images)
Scammers are now targeting vulnerable grandparents by stealing their money without them knowing.

Often we hear the word scam, and this could apply to all people regardless of age. However, scammers use a specific tactic to execute them for their specific targets: seniors.

Based on Comparitech’s Senior Scam Statistics: 2019-2021, 20% of victims in their 70s reported having their money stolen. The incidence was higher in younger people at 44%.

The number shows that cybercriminals have scammed few elders in two years. But experts believe that number is underreporting, as many seniors are less likely to report the incident to authorities.

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This alarming trend poses enormous risks for elders who often fall for this scam. Attackers specialize in launching these phishing attacks on seniors via SMS, shopping apps, and social media websites.

Rise in “grandparent cheating” during the pandemic

In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have to stay in their homes because of the virus spread. Because of the heavy reliance on technology, some elders have started using smartphones, computers, and other devices.

The pandemic is playing a big part in the scams, according to Visa’s global head of fraud services, Michael Jabbara.

“It’s no surprise that we’ve seen a massive shift toward digital transactions over the years, but with that shift there’s also an increased focus from scammers,” Jabbara said.

Due to a lack of knowledge in using technology, older people are easily fooled by scammers. They tend not to report the incident to the authorities.

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Jabbara added that scammers often send suspicious emails or messages to the seniors asking for donations.

For the past five years, Visa has been on the lookout for cybercrime related to AI and data analytics. The company wants to guarantee that the network remains secure for all users worldwide.

The Vice President of Visa went on to say that elder fraud starts on social media. For example, the grandparents post a picture on their Facebook accounts.

By doing so, the scammers could easily get their personal information and later hack their email and account. If they already have access, they will chat with the victim’s family member or close friend and ask them if they can give the senior any money or help.

Related article: Online scams apparently victimize more teenagers than older people – here are some explanations

How to protect elders from this fraud?

According to USA Today, these are the best ways to protect your grandparents and other elders from being scammed.

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Careful posting of information: This works by limiting the information that appears online. It’s better if you can make senior’s account private so only selected people can access it.

Watch out for money scams: If someone you don’t know is asking for your money, check to see if the situation is suspicious. Some scammers will ask the seniors to give them urgent money due to emergencies.

Device Security: Start with two-factor authentication when setting up an account. It’s also smart to use a fingerprint scan or password on a device.

Also read: Fraud Alert! Fake Microsoft emails about the Queen’s death can steal your confidential information

This article is owned by Tech Times

Written by Joseph Heinrich

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