Financial Scams Target Thousands of Seniors
An alarming number of senior adults are being victim to online financial fraud. Older people have been historically an extremely vulnerable population. Social workers and gerontologists agree on the fact that many senior citizens are financially abused by their relatives and other people close to them. However, never before was there such an alarming amount of financial abuses taking place through the internet.
“Unfortunately, we see way too many cases of fraud where the victims are 60 and up”, says William Carter, VP of Private Investigation at Philippine PI. The saddest part is that the numbers are growing every day because scammers see a great potential of success in senior people.
For one part, seniors have a lifetime of savings in their hands. Many have retirement plans, own their homes and have savings that they expect to enjoy sometime soon or to leave as an inheritance to their children. While the funds are available, fraudsters will try one way or the other to get their hands on these assets. Another reason why seniors make a good target for scammers is that many of them are lonely, socially isolated, widowed or simply neglected by their own families.
The responsibility of family and friends of older people is to advise them about the types of financial scams they could find on the internet, and help them find tools and tips to protect themselves. The following are some of the most popular scams currently targeting seniors.
Private investigators in the Philippines include all sort of relationship scams in this category. As mentioned before, seniors are often lonely people, which is why scammers will try to establish an online romantic or friendship relationship with the victims. Creating that bond takes time, but eventually the victim will feel that the fraudster is trustworthy and will feel emotionally attached to this person. Once this happens, they will agree to send or “lend” money to the scammers. It is very important that relatives pay close attention to any relationships a senior person might have online, and to hire a professional background check to make sure it is safe for them to keep communicating.
Victims often are unable to detect differences between legitimate emails or websites and bogus ones. Many seniors are not technology savvy and they certainly did not grow up in the internet environment to clearly understand what is going on. Fraudsters will take advantage of their lack of knowledge on the internet and will push them to visit bogus websites where online criminals can steal their personal information, or will offer an investment and request some kind of down payment. Avoiding any online transactions is the best way to go. Ignore unsolicited emails or calls to be safe.
Last but not least, there has been a rising threat among elderly people. Fraudsters impersonate the victim’s grandchild or a loved relative, and claim to be in trouble and in need for financial help. Scammers give instructions on how to send money and, as expected, grandparents will do anything to help their loved ones. By the time the victim realizes the call for help did not come from their grandchild, it is already too late! Help your grandparents or elderly verify the calls.
Financial fraud victims may suffer serious health consequences, including major depression, anxiety and illness. Do not remain oblivious to the problems that afflict our elderly, and if you need assistance, contact us! Our investigators can help you and your family stay safe.
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