Do Seniors Get Scammed More Than Others?
In my opinion the answer to that question is “yes”. It is a very sad comment on today’s society but we have to face facts – whilst there has, and always will be, dishonest people, the number who are prepared to fleece their neighbour is very much on the increase.
We’ve all received the telephone calls from companies offering cheap holidays or advising us we’ve won a lottery we’ve never won. Since the advent of email there has been a steady increase in the number of phishing emails that attempt to hijack our personal information and banking details.
Even more famous are the Nigerian advance fee, or 419 scams, as they are more commonly known. (Yes! Some people really do fall for them and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a slice of the Prince of Lagos’ millions he left in a hidden account!).
Why is it I think that seniors are more at risk though? Surely it is the greedy that fall foul of scams isn’t it?
It’s true that the greedy and naïve are at risk, yes, but the elderly are from an age where this sort of fraud was almost unheard of. They are likely to be far more trusting and will take strangers at face value rather than approaching an offer with cynicism.
It may also be that they are lonely and enjoy a phone call or an email exchange. Maybe retirement is a harsh financial reality and they see the opportunity to better their standard of living or to leave a nice nest egg for their children.
Fraudsters, once they have deceived someone will come back again too. The scammed get caught again by bogus firms looking to recover their lost funds. The elderly are often too embarrassed to admit to falling for such schemes.
To ensure your loved one isn’t becoming a victim there are a few signs you can look out for –
– They are receiving more phone calls than usual
– They have subscriptions to many magazines, especially ones you wouldn’t expect them to read
– They are getting more and more mail for lotteries
– There are a lot of cheap items around their house that they have “won” in competitions or been given as a “free gift” when making other purchases.
So, please, keep an eye out for the elderly and educate yourself on the pitfalls that can befall them in a world increasingly inhabited by scammers.