Seniors are easily one of the most vulnerable populations when it comes to scammers of all types. From Medicare fraud to money schemes, the elderly often fall victim to scams which rob them of their life savings leaving them poor and at a loss. According to Bloomberg, scamming the elderly is a 37 billion dollar business for criminals. Why? Seniors are more likely to fall victim to criminals for a multitude of reasons. They are often lonely and in desperate need of companionship which scammers use to their advantage. To many, the senior population is more naïve and, in turn, more trusting of those who are out to do them harm.
One scam, in particular, preys on the elderly by appealing to their desire to be of help to their loved ones. It is known as the “grandparents” scam. Abusers use the love for a grandchild to worm money from grandparents and without any concern for the welfare of those they are carelessly robbing from. Champion Home Health Care has a vested interest in the welfare of seniors in Melbourne, FL and beyond. We know just how valuable seniors are to Brevard County and have made it our mission to provide professional and compassionate home health care to seniors in Melbourne, FL. Our caregivers provide assisted living support for the elderly, from medication management to skilled nursing services for seniors in Brevard. Protecting their interests is crucial to us. Read on for more information on the grandparent’s scam and how to spot it before someone you love falls prey to someone out to seal and destroy their life.
The scam begins with a phone call from someone posing as a grandchild in need of immediate help. What loving grandparent would not go to whatever lengths necessary to assist their grandchild? This is what the scammer is banking on. Oftentimes the caller will say they are in a precarious situation such as a car wreck, an accident of some sort, even jail. They need help immediately so please wire money now. The scammer creates a viable scenario and asks for immediate monetary assistance all while pleading with the grandparent to NOT tell mom or dad. This strategy works by appealing to the love between a grandparent and their grandchild and may seniors fall victim because of their desire to help their loved ones. It is easy to see why a simple transfer of money will do the job. However, it is a scam in the making. How do you prevent such a catastrophe from happening? Ask questions and protect online profiles.
First and foremost, do not panic. The first line of defense is to ask questions to the caller that only they will know. You can begin by asking questions only the real grandchild will know. Here are a few examples:
- What is the name of your pet?
- What is your mother’s middle name?
- Where do your parents regularly vacation?
Questions like this will let you know whether or not the person on the phone is a true relative or someone out to extort money from you. If they cannot answer, hang up.
The next step is to get off the phone and consult with relatives. Yes, the caller may ask you not to speak with their parents, but this in and of itself is a red flag. You need to confirm that the caller in question is actually in need of assistance BEFORE any money is sent.
Many seniors have active social media profiles and this is a way criminals find them. To protect yourself, be careful about what information you allow to be public on social media platforms. Make sure you set all of your settings to private so that you can monitor who has access to your information.
The digital age allows us all to stay more connected than ever and this is a great thing for seniors. However, criminals are out to scour the internet and find any means possible to access information. Protect yourself and the ones you love by ensuring that privacy settings are accurate. Make sure your email accounts are secure as well and use spyware and anti-virus software as a precaution.
You do not have to become a victim of online scammers. By being vigilant and proactive, you can avert a crisis.