AI is becoming increasingly accessible and sophisticated, giving scam artists opportunities to target seniors in new ways. AI algorithms can be used to generate realistic-looking calls, emails, and texts that can fool even the most tech-savvy seniors.
AI and Scams
A recent 60 Minutes segment detailed just how online scams might use AI to target seniors. In the piece, they detailed how scam artists could use AI-generated voices to call seniors and sound like a real person. The scammer would use this technology to build rapport with the person they are calling and make them more likely to fall prey to their demands.
Of course, AI is just a tool, and it can also be used to help prevent scams—for example, it could be used to monitor spending so that loved ones can see if their parents or grandparents have sent money to scammers. AI can also be used to detect suspicious emails or phone numbers that could indicate a scam is underway.
Becoming more familiar with what AI can do and how it can be used for scammers is an important step in helping protect seniors from scams. If you know what to look out for, you can stay safe.
The Seniors Center
The Seniors Center is here to help retirees learn about the latest ways that scam artists are targeting seniors, from AI-generated calls to phishing emails. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay updated, aware, and ready to protect yourself from scams.
There are nearly endless scams targeting older adults. From theft to identity fraud, seniors need to stay vigilant and be aware of the latest schemes. Georgia’s Consumer Protection Division has put together a helpful resource for seniors who want to stay informed.
Top 10 Scams
Here are the top 10 scams to watch out for:
Medicare or health insurance fraud – Scam artists might pose as Medicare representatives
Counterfeit prescription drugs – Be wary of suspicious offers for medications, especially if they come with a free “gift”
Funeral and cemetery scams – These scams usually involve pre-purchased funeral and cemetery services that are not delivered
Fraudulent anti-aging products – Don’t fall for false advertising that promises to take years off your appearance
Telemarketing fraud – Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls; never give out your credit card or bank account information
Internet fraud – Be careful when clicking on unfamiliar links, and never provide your personal information to an unverified source
Investment fraud – Research any investment offers carefully to avoid being scammed
Reverse mortgages – Make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions of a reverse mortgage before signing
Sweepstakes and lottery scams – Never pay to collect a prize or money
Grandparent scams – Be wary of requests for money from anyone claiming to be a family member in an emergency situation
If you’ve been a victim of a scam, don’t be embarrassed—it’s important to report the incident and seek help. Scam artists can be sophisticated and deceptive, so it can be difficult to stay ahead of them.
The Seniors Center Blog
The Seniors Center is here to help. We provide resources and information to help seniors identify and avoid scams, as well as advice on ways to protect themselves. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook so you never miss an update!
Phishing scams are becoming more and more sophisticated—so much so that even a savvy guy like Keith Hernandez almost fell for one.
What Are Phishing Scams?
Phishing scams are a type of fraud where scammers send emails or texts that look like they’re from a legitimate company in an attempt to get you to share personal information like your Social Security number, credit card number, or bank account login information.
They might also try to get you to download software that will give them access to your computer or device.
Once they have this information, they can use it to commit identity theft or financial fraud.
Hernandez, a former MLB player and current broadcaster for the New York Mets, recently shared his story of how he almost fell victim to a phishing scam. He received an email that looked very official, purporting to be from Florida Power & Light, saying he needed to pay them a deposit or his power would be shut off.
The email looked legitimate at first glance, and he even called the number they gave him. But luckily, he called his bank before he gave them any of his personal information.
This incident is a reminder that we all need to be careful about the emails we open and click on. If you’re ever unsure about the legitimacy of an email, it’s best to err on the side of caution and not click on any links or attachments.
Stay Safe from Scams
If you think you may have been the victim of a phishing scam, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission. You can also learn more about how to protect yourself from these types of scams by keeping up with The Seniors Center‘s latest posts.
Going to the ATM is typically a routine errand. You might not think twice about getting your card out of your wallet, entering your PIN, and grabbing some cash. But an ATM scam is targeting people in metro areas that could cost you more than just a few dollars.
According to NBC New York, this scam starts at the moment you enter your PIN. Targets receive a tap on the shoulder from what seems to be a friendly stranger alerting them to cash on the ground behind them that might have fallen from their wallet while entering their PIN. By the time they turn around to pick up the money, their card has already been removed from the ATM by a thief and swapped with a dummy card. The thieves then use the information on the card to withdraw money from the victim’s account or make purchases before they can realize what has happened.
Staying Safe from ATM Scams
There are a few easy steps you can take to protect yourself from this scam:
Always be aware of your surroundings when using an ATM. If someone taps you on the shoulder, do not move away from the machine. Instead, stay at the ATM and alert your bank or the police immediately.
Cover the keypad with your free hand or body when entering your PIN to block anyone from seeing it.
Avoid ATMs that are in isolated areas or only have limited surveillance.
If you find yourself the victim of an ATM scam, report it to your bank immediately. Your bank will be able to investigate the case and, if possible, help you recover your money or block any fraudulent charges.
When looking at the different ways that scam artists target seniors, it’s easy to focus on the ones that lure victims in with emotional appeals. Grandparent and sweetheart scams are both examples of this. But there’s another type of scam that’s just as dangerous, if not more so — the fraudulent check scheme.
How One Las Vegas Man Swindled Seniors Out of Millions
One recent example of an especially insidious fraudulent check scheme took place in Las Vegas. A 76-year-old resident of the city, Michael Zeto, was discovered to be stealing money from other seniors’ bank accounts by depositing fraudulent checks.
He first purchased the names and bank account information of senior citizens from foreign telemarketers. He created checks in their names and deposited them into his own business accounts. Zeto has since been caught, however, and faces many years in prison for this form of fraud.
Stay Safe from Fraudulent Check Schemes
Fraudulent check schemes are just one of the many ways that scam artists target seniors. But there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
The most important thing is to be aware of the signs of fraud. If someone you don’t know asks you to deposit a check for them, be very suspicious. Never give out your bank account information to someone you don’t know.
You should also keep a close eye on your bank account. Check your statements regularly and report any suspicious activity to your bank immediately. If you do become the victim of fraud, be sure to contact the police so they can catch the person responsible.
The Seniors Center
By following these simple steps, you can help keep yourself safe from fraudulent check schemes and other types of scams. At The Seniors Center, we’re helping seniors stay safe — and providing helpful information about Social Security and other issues impacting older Americans. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to learn more!
For seniors and their loved ones around the country, the idea of elder abuse is frightening and difficult to comprehend. Whether someone you’ve entrusted with your care acts maliciously or you fall victim to fraud, it can be hard to know what steps to take and where to turn. Learning more about this form of abuse can help you be better prepared to protect yourself or a loved one from becoming a victim.
What is Elder Abuse?
The U.S. Justice Department has put together a helpful guide detailing what constitutes elder abuse, how common it is, and what to do if you or someone you know has been affected. Generally speaking, elder abuse includes any physical or emotional harm caused to someone aged 65 or older. Caregiver neglect, financial exploitation, and physical abuse are all examples of this type of abuse.
How Many Seniors are Affected by This Form of Abuse?
Unfortunately, the prevalence of elder abuse is far greater than many people realize. The Justice Department indicates that at least 1 in 10 people over the age of 65 will experience a form of abuse in a given year. As the senior population continues to grow, it is likely that the number of victims will only increase.
What to Do if You are Affected by Elder Abuse
If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse, it’s important to take action. If you’re in immediate danger, call 911. You can also make a report to your local adult protective services agency. Help is available, and you don’t have to suffer in silence.
It’s vital that seniors and their loved ones stay informed about abuse and take the necessary steps to protect themselves. The Seniors Center Blog is dedicated to helping seniors and their families stay informed, safe, and healthy. Be sure to follow The Seniors Center on Twitter and Facebook today to keep up-to-date.
At The Seniors Center Blog, we’re constantly looking out for scams that could target seniors. From phishing scams to romance scams, there are plenty of ways that scammers can try to get your information or your savings. And in 2022, it’s clear that some of them were successful.
AARP reports that in 2022, Americans lost nearly $8.8 billion to scammers. This is an increase of 30 percent from 2021. Many of these scams targeted seniors, who are more likely to be vulnerable to these tactics and have a greater likelihood of being targeted.
Investment scams were to blame for the largest losses in 2022. The median loss to this type of scam was reported to be $7,144, an amount that could be devastating to many seniors.
Imposter scams also rose in 2022. Scam artists might pose as tech support, government employees, or even family members in order to gain access to personal information or funds.
It’s important for seniors to be on the lookout for these scams and to know how to protect themselves. The Seniors Center Blog offers a variety of resources about recognizing, avoiding, and reporting scams. Keep up with all of our latest posts by following The Seniors Center on Twitter and Facebook today!
Many scam artists target elderly Americans. They can be attractive targets because many seniors have retirement savings or own their own homes, resources that are valuable to scammers. The FBI works to take down scam artists, but relies on tips and insight from everyday American seniors to find out what common scams are causing problems.
This video from the FBI details how a former director of the agency was targeted by a scam and how he and his wife were able to take down the scam artist. Their article also gives seniors insight into how they can spot and report fraud.
Common Scams Targeting Seniors
According to the FBI, of the most common senior scams include:
Lottery scams – Be wary of anyone contacting you claiming that you have won money
Caregiver or guardianship scams – These insidious forms of fraud take advantage of seniors when they are most vulnerable
Tech support scams – Giving out passwords or access to devices can allow scam artists to steal personal information or money
If you suspect that you’re being targeted by a scam artist, you can use the FBI Tip Form to report your findings. Giving as much detail as possible can help the agency track down bad actors.
Cryptocurrency has taken the world by storm. This digital currency is not only popular, but it is also highly volatile and subject to fraud. Seniors are particularly vulnerable when it comes to crypto scams, as they may not be as tech-savvy or financially literate as younger generations. It is important for seniors to understand the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrency, as well as the signs that they may have fallen victim to a crypto scam.
What Is Cryptocurrency?
According to the FTC, cryptocurrencies are digital assets that can be used to store and transfer value. They are not backed by any government or central banks, which makes them attractive to investors looking for an alternative investment option. However, this lack of government oversight also makes them vulnerable to fraud and other risks.
How Crypto Scams Work
Crypto scams come in many forms, and they often target seniors. Signs of scams can include:
Someone is demanding payment in crypto for goods or services.
Someone is promising a guaranteed return on your crypto investment.
You are asked to provide personal information that could be used to steal your identity
Someone is pressuring you to invest quickly in a “limited time” offer.
If you encounter any of these signs, it is important to be aware that you may have encountered a crypto scam.
Law enforcement in South Carolina is raising the alarm after a con artist targeted a local senior woman at the end of 2022.
How One Woman Lost Her Savings
According to local ABC affiliate WSOC, Betty Burleson, a resident of Fort Mill, S.C., was contacted by a con artist who claimed to be a representative of Amazon. The fake agent claimed that fraudulent charges had been made on her account and that they were able to trace these charges to a case of identity theft. Betty was informed that her Social Security number was in use at five different banks, and in order to keep her savings safe, she would have to take action.
She took all of the money out of her bank account in cash as the “agent” asked, then mailed it to an address in California. The next day, when she went to contact the number again to check the status of her account, she discovered that the con artist had scammed her out of more than $15,000!
Of course, everything he had told her was a lie. There were no fraudulent charges, her Social Security number was not in use at five banks, and the address where she had sent her money was fake.
Staying Safe from Fraud
Staying safe from con artists and other fraudsters is an important part of protecting your financial future. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Never give money upfront in order to receive a prize
Never give out personal information, such as Social Security numbers or bank account numbers
Be wary of calls and emails purporting to be from government agencies
Do your research before investing in any product or service
If you think you may be a victim of con artist fraud, contact your local authorities immediately. The Seniors Center is here to help our readers stay safe with resources on fraud prevention. To keep up with our latest posts, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.