Senior citizens beware! Top 3 online scams targeting the elderly in 2021

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In 2020, millions of senior citizens lost billions of dollars due to online fraud. (Photo: Getty)

If you are a senior citizen, or have a parent or grandparent you are concerned about, listen up.

US senior citizens are being targeted by a record number of online con artists, According to the FBI. in 2020, People aged 50 and older suffered a massive loss of $1.8 billion for online fraud. and those numbers are probably underAs the FBI believes, many senior citizens are ashamed to report that they have been defrauded.

As appalling as it may sound, the FBI states that senior citizens are the main fraud targets, as older people are “trustworthy and polite”. “They usually also have financial savings, they own a house, and they have good credit.” For example, criminals will exploit these deep features with schemes that threaten an unexpected or financial loss, to name a few.

here are three Most Common and Expensive Big Fraud Scams of the Last Year – All of them took advantage of COVID-19 to exploit their goals even more.

Senior Citizen Online Scam #1: Incentive Check Scam

Cybercriminals have taken advantage of the hardships of the past year to keep up with one of their top scams: the stimulus check scam. “What we’re seeing is the same song, just different lyrics, updated at this point in the area of ​​concern,” says cybersecurity expert Adam Levine, founder cyber scout, Yahoo Life.

He points out that senior citizens are more vulnerable when it comes to anything COVID-related or stimulus check-related. Hence the incentive check scam, which is cost Americans at least $3 million And the identity theft crisis stemming from phishing emails has primarily affected the elderly. Better Business Bureau (BBB) ​​report That these malicious emails tempt users to click on a link to “request benefits payments”, then trick them into spreading personal financial information on a bogus payment application or downloading malware to their computers.

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Senior Citizen Online Scam #2: Sweepstakes Scam

You have to be in it to win it—so if you've never entered a contest, you definitely haven't hit the jackpot.  (Photo: Getty)

You have to be in it to win it – so if you’ve never entered a contest, you definitely haven’t hit the jackpot. (Photo: Getty)

Unfortunately, scams involving sweepstakes and lottery winnings are nothing new, especially for seniors. People 65 and older accounted for more than half of the victims of sweepstakes fraud since 2018. BBB. According to. This age group has lost about $2.52 million in these scams.

Typically, scammers will trick victims into wiring money or buying gift cards to claim their prizes (the BBB warns that no legitimate lottery organization will ask winners to do so). But this past year, criminals modified their strategy by telling Target that not only did they not win the sweepstakes prize (they didn’t), but they would have to pay an additional fee to claim their prize. Otherwise, pandemic restrictions will delay the delivery of their jackpots.

The BBB offers these top tips for staving off sweepstakes scams:

  1. Never approach anyone who tells you that you have won money in a contest you have never entered

  2. Never pay “fees” or “taxes” before claiming monetary rewards

  3. Contact the lottery or sweepstakes company yourself to see if you’ve actually won a prize. As Levine says, “To avoid remorse, go to the source.”

Senior Citizen Online Scam #3: Romance Scam

Romance Scam Malwarebytes

Member of the Lonely Hearts Club? Beware a virtual stranger trying to trade love for cash. (Photo: Getty)

Using another evergreen tactic, some criminals took the heartbreak to defraud more vulnerable elderly Americans than last year, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says. “In 2020, losses from romance scams reached a record $304 million, a nearly 50% increase from 2019,” the FTC’s site reports. That means each lone heart lost an average of $2,500 — but people age 70 and older reported the highest average loss: $9,475 per capita scam.

The romance scam works like this: You meet a love interest on a dating app and communicate online without ever meeting your boyfriend in person. The FTC says your cheating boyfriend gains your trust, then convinces you to send money or “much-needed” funds via gift cards “because they can get cash quickly and remain anonymous.” Huh”.

Scammers up their dishonest game in 2020 By taking advantage of the increased vulnerability and the idea that meeting in person was off-putting for those in lockdown during the pandemic. Scammers no longer had to use stall tactics to avoid dates; He had an underlying excuse.

When it is too late, the victims of the romance scam learn that they have in fact been fooled. Until that time, the perpetrator is often not traced.

  1. The FTC warns that if you suspect that someone you’ve met online is romancing you:

  2. cut off communication immediately

  3. Do a reverse image search of the person’s profile picture

  4. Search for the type of job the person is doing and see if anyone has reported a scam that sounds familiar to that type of worker.

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