Based on data released by the FBI and National Council on Aging (NCOA) in the USA, these are some of the most common fraud scams that criminals try on the elderly:
Whether it's off of a social media platform or a dating website, criminals love to use this method to exploit seniors for money. Cybercriminals will develop fake romantic relationships with their victim to extract money from them, netting these thieves over $280 million in 2020.
Lottery And Charity Scams
By using the appearance to represent a legitimate charity or lottery, criminals work to gain the trust of seniors and convince them they've won a ton of money or are donating to a worthy cause.
Tech Support Scams
With claims of working for tech support for some well-known company, cybercriminals will offer to fix a problem for the senior. Their main aim is to gain control of the device and steal sensitive information.
This one is the most awful, and criminals will call a senior asking for money and trick them into thinking the victim is talking to one of their grandchildren.
Government Impersonation Scam
Last but not least, criminals pretend to represent a legitimate government agency and will say the victim is in trouble and owes the government money, whether for taxes, pension payments, or anything else.
Here are Some Questions to Ask Yourself Before Handing Anything Over
Most of the time, scammers will be insistent, almost to the point of being rude and demanding, when attempting to get you to comply with their request. It's a good idea to keep the techniques and questions below in mind:
If In Doubt, Throw It Out
Many scammers will send emails to pretend they're legitimate businesses but try to steal. If you find a weird email with a questionable link, delete it from your inbox, and don't click on any links! "If in doubt, throw it out" is one of the best rules of thumb.
Head Straight to the Source
Google is your friend; take advantage of it! Go to the source's website, government agency, or tech department and check if the email they sent you matches what the real company uses. If you need clarification, contact that company directly and ask whether the email you have is one they would use.
Ask Yourself Questions
It never hurts to ask yourself, "Why would a tech support person need you to download a file? Another question is, "Did I enter this lottery/use this service? If you're left unsure, hang up (and block that number) or delete that email immediately; no need to be polite to some criminal.
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