We live in a world these days with constantly increasing and expanding levels of technology. Unfortunately, this can bring with it some negative aspects. Your private information is now much more vulnerable than ever, opening the door to scams and fraudulent behaviour. For numerous reasons, seniors have a history of being targets of this criminal activity.
Many people believe that blind trust is a trait of older generations, but studies have shown that as we get older our brains have a diminished capability for detecting deceit. The following are a few examples of possible scams to be on the lookout for.
One type of scam is when the perpetrator goes door-to-door trying to solicit cash up front, for some kind of fraudulent service. Many seniors strongly value courtesy, and feel the need to be polite to visitors. Not answering the door for any unknown caller is the strongest defense against this type of scam. Here are some other guidelines to follow:
• Never let anyone you don’t know into your house
• Never give cash up front
• Never sign anything
• Never accept something you didn’t ask for
If you do answer the door to a stranger, the best practice is to have them leave their information and tell them you will contact hem if you wish to proceed further.
Over the Phone
Telephone scams are also quite a common method of fraudulent activity. Phone scams can come in many different formats and can be an effective way of extracting money from unsuspecting seniors. Some examples are:
• Free vacations and prizes
• Phony debt collectors
• Fake Charities
• Medical Alert scams
• Credit card verification
• Accusations of tax fraud
• Threats of imprisonment
• Impersonation of family members needing money
Similarly to house calls, the best protection against telephone scams is to not answer any calls from an unrecognized number. Remember to never give out any personal information of any kind, and never accept anything you didn’t ask for. If you are unsure, request the caller’s contact information and you can call back after having time to check them out.
Scams through fraudulent emails and websites are constantly changing and adapting and can be tricky to detect. These scams are typically aimed at computer users with a low level of technical knowledge. A large portion of seniors fall into this category. These scams can come in the form of promising increased security on your computer, helping to fix a virus, guarantee of cash prizes, or phishing scams. Make sure your security software is always up to date, and refrain from visiting questionable websites and opening emails from unknown senders.
There are so many different email scams out there days it may be difficult for a person with little technical experience to detect them. Here are some basic rules:
• Never provide any financial or personal information to an unknown party
• Never open emails, attachments, or pop ups from people you do not know
• If an offer seems to be unbelievably generous, do not trust it
• If you think your computer has a virus or similar issue seek professional technical assistance
People don’t realize how beneficial it is to report any scams you encounter. This can help prevent it from happening to others, and can even result in recovering incurred losses.
At Retire-At-Home Toronto, our caregivers can assist with any questions regarding scam and fraud prevention. We are here to provide information and support. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office.