Senior citizens are using technology more than ever before. Smart devices help them stay connected with their loved ones, and get essential goods and services from the comfort of their homes. Seniors are among the prime target for cybercrimes.
Because of their vulnerability and their savings. Older people are swindled out of more than $3 billion each year In 2017, a 79-year-old woman named Judy was caught in an elaborate scam that cost her close to $200,000.
She was the victim of a tech support scam. Tech support scams occur when scammers want you to believe you have a serious problem with your computer and want you to pay for tech support services you don’t need or to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.
In 2021, total reported losses to romance scams hit a high of $547 million. Romance scam is when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. A 79-year-old man fell victim to a romance scam and was conned out of over $700,000 over 2 years. Online shopping scam is another widely reported type of fraud.
It occurs when scammers pretend to be legitimate online sellers, either with a fake website or a fake ad on a genuine retailer site. In 2021, people over 60 reportedly lost at least $52 million from online shopping scams according to AARP.
Other common type of scams are : Imposter scam Scammers pretend to be someone you trust to convince you to send them money. Sweepstakes scam Scammers contact you via mail, internet, and the phone with promises of a prize such as a car, a vacation, or a large sum of money and require you to pay fees to claim your prize.
Timeshare sale and resale scams, investment scams and health insurance scams are also prevalent among the elderly. The scams can take place over the phone, online or in person.
Seniors should avoid giving out personal or financial information to strangers. They should ask questions and seek help when in doubt.