You would think that, as technology advances, it will be easier for us to spot a scammer. While seeing 'Scam Likely' on the caller ID helps us out sometimes, fraudsters nowadays are only becoming smarter in making us fall for their schemes.
In fact, just last year, the number of scams calls grew by 18% in the United States, and it remains in the top 10 most spammed countries in the world. Now, that is something that you don't want to be consistent at, right? What's even worse is that most of the victims of these scams are senior citizens. Just explains how heartless scammers can be.
The thing is, they love to victimize the elderly because they fall for scams very easily. And here are some of the possible reasons why.
They feel very lonely.
While retirement communities today have a way to make things more enjoyable for older people, some of them still couldn't help but feel lonely and isolated. This also applies even to those who are living with their families because of the fact that, as we age, we naturally just feel more alone than when we were younger.
Unfortunately, scammers love to take advantage of this feeling of loneliness to be able to establish rapport and get acquainted with their victims easier.
They might feel financially insecure.
In America, over 250 million citizens aged 60+ are dealing with financial stress. The usual struggles revolve around housing bills, access to transportation, job loss, and diminished retirement savings. Because of this, they become the easiest targets when it comes to false promises from scammers.
Some of the examples are opportunities to invest their money and government grants.
They are experiencing a cognitive decline.
As we get older, certain areas of thinking naturally decline. For this reason, the risk of getting more susceptible to scams is higher.
Because it requires a variety of cognitive abilities to detect scams, people who are suffering from cognitive impairment such as memory loss and dementia have an increased risk of getting scammed.
They panic easily.
In this case, because elderly people are not usually familiar with most scams, when an alarming situation rises, they easily get persuaded in making poor decisions such as sharing their personal information or financial details.
An example is when a scam caller claims that their credit card is associated with illegal activities and has to be verified. Because fear is presented, they proceed to give out their information without asking more questions.
Each year, millions of senior citizens get targeted by scammers, and we cannot see it stopping anytime soon. One of the best ways to deal with it is by educating the older adults in your life about these ongoing scams. A call blocker will also be useful so they won't have to deal with scam calls or robocalls.
If you wish to report fraud, here are the following agencies you can contact:
Consumer Fraud and Identity Theft
Contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP, 1-877-ID-THEFT, or online at www.ftc.gov.
Correspondence may be sent to: National Center for Disaster Fraud Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4909
General Fraud and Other Criminal Matters
Health Care Fraud, Medicare/Medicaid Fraud, and Related Matters
Contact the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-HHS-TIPS, or online at www.oig.hhs.gov.
Internet Fraud and Lottery/Sweepstakes Fraud by Internet
Contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) online at www.ic3.gov.
Mail Fraud and Lottery/Sweepstakes Fraud
Contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-800-372-8347, or online at postalinspectors.uspis.gov.