An increasing number of cybercriminals prey on the vulnerable and weak, such as the elderly. Because the elderly are not tech savvy and not well versed with how the internet works, they are more likely to get scammed than younger generations. Research has proven that more than 53% of individuals over the age of 65 have been the main target of cybercriminals. If you have an elderly relative, you need to recognize the high risk that they’re at even by simply browsing the internet. Here are a few ways to make sure your elderly relatives don’t get swindled.
1. Alert Them About Common Scam Techniques
The first thing you can do to help your elderly relatives avoid a scam is to alert them about repeated techniques. While scammers and cybercriminals are getting more creative, a hoax will always have a few telltale signs. Tell your elderly relatives to avoid:
- Wiring money to individuals who claimed they’ve won a prize or forgotten to make a payment
- Wiring money to people claiming to be government agencies. Remember, the government will only contact you if you reach out to them first, and it will likely not be via a call or email.
- Giving out their personal and sensitive information such as their home address and credit card numbers to companies they’ve never heard of or had contact with before
- Clicking on links in emails coming from an address that they’ve never interacted with
2. Monitor Their Accounts
Your elderly relatives can be a victim of a fraud scheme while being utterly unaware of it. Regularly monitoring their financial accounts will help you detect signs of any ongoing scams. When your relatives are signing up for their financial accounts, instruct them to set a strong password for their accounts and to keep changing them regularly. It also helps if they’ve set text and email alerts for whenever they sign into their accounts; this way, they’ll get a notification if someone other than them signs in to their financial accounts. If you reside in Indiana, your lawyer can help you in case of credit card fraud. However, it’s better to stay cautious and get advice from Indiana elder law attorneys about financial and credit card fraud. Lastly, make your elderly relatives get monthly credit reports so they can review their expenses and check for any accounts they aren’t familiar with.
3. Educate Them About Investment Fraud
Multiple professionals claim to help the elderly invest and manage their financial accounts, but all they do is exploit the elderly. To avoid investment fraud, instruct your elderly relatives to inquire about these professionals about their practices, licenses, and their payment methods. It helps if you can ask them about their references if they have any. Having no contacts or connections is a red flag, meaning that there isn’t anyone who can vouch for their services. No provision of references will also prevent you from calling up their previous client to ask them about their experience.
You should also instruct your elderly relatives to steer clear of investment opportunities that offer high rates of return with zero risk; usually, opportunities like these turn out to be a scam. Your professional should always be able to provide you with official documentation and relevant information about these insurance programs; the inability to do so raises another huge red flag, and you should be wary.
The best way to protect the elderly from scams is by educating them about different scam techniques and how to stay wary of them. Have open lines of communication with them and keep them up to date about any latest scam techniques you may have heard. By offering the elderly support, you can help protect their finances and personal information from being manipulated and used for malicious purposes.