The FTC surveys millions of people regarding fraud. The October 2019 survey found that 40 million adults were victims of at least one fraudulent activity. Older adults were less likely to admit it, but those that did admit to losing money tended to have lost the most money.
While all ages were at risk of being scammed, the survey found that older adults were more likely to fall for these scams.
- Contest/lottery scams
- Family/friend impersonation scams
- Government agency impersonation scams
- Romance scams
- Tech support scams
Has your mom been caught in a scam? If so, she needs to report it. She can’t let embarrassment keep her from calling the police. If she hasn’t yet, scammers are out there. Make sure she knows these tips to prevent scams from happening to her.
Never Give Money or Gift Cards to a Stranger
Your mom cannot give any money or gift card numbers to someone who calls. The police, IRS, and other government agencies will never demand payment through gift cards. They’d also never require money to be packaged and sent to them using UPS or another courier service.
Verify Grandkids Really Have Been Arrested or in an Accident
The grandparent scam is one of the easiest for grandparents to fall for. The scammer uses social media to find personal information, which makes the scam believable.
If your mom is the victim of a grandparent scam, she needs to hang up and call family members to verify that there really is an issue. Your mom must always be suspicious of a caller in this situation.
Call Spoofing Makes It Hard to Know if a Call Is Legitimate
Call spoofing is a technique scammers use to get people to answer the phone. Instead of calling from a foreign or out-of-state number, they make it look like a local business is calling.
Make sure your mom is aware that call spoofing exists. When someone calls her, it may not be a legitimate call. If she gets a call from a local store that she’s never shopped from or been in, she shouldn’t answer the phone. If it is legitimate, they’ll call back.
She Doesn’t Have to Answer Her Phone
Some older adults are more likely to pick up the phone. While younger generations tend to let unknown calls go to voicemail, older adults often feel obligated to answer. It goes back to common etiquette where you answered a ringing phone by the third ring and had to be engaging and polite.
Make sure your mom knows she doesn’t have to answer the phone. It’s acceptable to let the call go to voicemail and call back if it was a legitimate call. By doing that, she avoids calls from scammers.
If she answers the phone simply because she’s lonely and wants to hear another person’s voice, it’s time to talk about caregivers and companionship visits. Instead of talking to a stranger on the phone, she can talk to the caregiver who stops by.
With companionship visits, your mom has caregivers to engage with over movies, a game of cards, or a meal. Call a home care agency to schedule caregivers.