According to the FBI, criminals target the elderly every year due to their lack of internet savvy, polite demeaner, savings accounts, homeownership, and good credit.
Understanding the types of elder fraud may help people identify and protect against it.
Types of elder fraud schemes
Tech support scams are among the most common schemes. A scammer poses as technology support and offers to fix a person’s computer issues.
The scammer may use emails, popups or advertisements claiming the victim has a problem with their computer. Under the guise of helping the person, the criminal takes remote access of the computer and accesses sensitive information.
Romance schemes involve criminals posing as romantic partners on a dating website. The person uses an older adult to get money while posing as an interested party. Other scams may include:
- Home repair
- Government impersonation
Scammers often target older adults under the pretense of helping them but find ways to take their money instead.
Protection against elder fraud
To protect against elder fraud:
- Help your loved one recognize the various scams
- Investigate all offers and look up all businesses to ensure legitimacy. If your loved ones use a computer often, remind them never to open up email attachments from strangers.
- Do not send any gift cards, checks or personally identifiable information if you cannot verify a person’s existence
If you suspect a loved one may be a victim of elder fraud, you can file a complaint with the FBI and submit a report. To report a scam, include as much information as possible about the incident.