Financial fraud against the elderly is growing rapidly. Many of us are familiar with this danger generally, but don’t know how to protect ourselves and our loved ones. As a result, older Americans lose roughly $3 billion each year to financial scams – a number that increased by 62% between 2020 and 2021 alone.
Romance scams are now the largest source of fraud reported to the FTC by Americans aged 60 and older. Unfortunately, these aren’t the only types of scams causing damage today. According to the AARP, nearly 75% of the victims of telemarketing scams are aged 50 and older.
Understanding the latest scams on seniors is essential to protecting older adults from emotional and financial abuse.
Why Do So Many Current Scams Target Seniors?
Many fraudsters target the elderly because they perceive them as vulnerable and isolated, with disposable income and money in the bank. Some of the most popular current scams targeting seniors include:
- Sweepstakes and lottery scams
- Grandparent scams
- Romance scams
- Computer tech scams
- Government (IRS, Social Security, or Medicare) impersonation scams
There are a few reasons why these scams have increased in recent years.
Seniors are spending more time online
As of 2022, 61% of Americans aged 65 and older own a smartphone. As elderly Americans live more of their lives online, their exposure to scammers and con artists increases. Many seniors have taken to social media and online dating platforms to cultivate new relationships, which exposes them to catfishers who prey on the elderly.
A reluctance to use technology can put seniors at risk
While being online does put seniors at increased risk for digital scams, being unfamiliar with technology carries its own risks.
Not knowing how to identify the signs of a fraudulent email or text message puts older Americans at risk for phishing or texting scams that ask them to divulge sensitive personal data like bank account information or Social Security numbers.
How Can Seniors Avoid Online Financial Scams?
There are a few simple rules that seniors can follow to avoid being victims of online fraud. Here are some of our best tips on avoiding scams for seniors.
- Never give any personal or financial information to anyone you meet online.
- Many scams prey on people’s sense of urgency. Always take a deep breath and carefully evaluate what you’re being asked to do. If you have doubts, ask a trusted friend or family member for their opinion.
- Never click on a link unless you know and trust the person sending it.
- If you’re using an app that requires you to meet someone in person or have someone visit your home, always make sure you verify their information beforehand.
Verifying personal information online used to be very challenging. Thankfully, now there’s a free service specifically designed to help seniors avoid online scams.
Choose Dentity to Verify People Online
Dentity is an online identity verification service that’s quick, simple, and easy to use. Building trust online has never been easier.
Dentity can verify the identity of anyone you’re talking to online and keep you safe on dating apps, social media, and other online marketplaces.
It’s even trusted by the AARP (Read more), according to Andy Miller, AARP’s SVP of Innovation and Product Marketing.
“We got to know Dentity during their participation in the AARP Innovation Labs’ Accelerator Program and share their vision of making the internet a safer place for people of all ages and backgrounds,” he says. “Online marketplaces, social media, and sharing economy apps are increasingly targeted by fraudsters, and the fallout can be financial, psychological, and sometimes physical. Dentity is easy to navigate and helps fight scammers that specifically target the aging.”
Dentity is safe and secure, and signing up for a free account only takes about a minute.
Fight scammers by signing up for Dentity today!