American seniors are scammed out of $2.6 billion per year, and half of all fraud victims are over 50. This means one thing for your grandparents: yikes.
Young people are used to avoiding Internet pop-ups, sketchy telemarketers, and bogus sweepstakes offers. Seniors, meanwhile, are less aware of the warning signs. They’re easy targets. Use this guide to keep your grandparents’ money where it belongs - going towards your holiday presents:
Teach your grandparents the main types of fraud
Be wary if your grandparents receive tons of sweepstakes notifications, free gift offers or over 20 unsolicited phone calls per day. That means they’re at the greatest risk for one of these scams:
- Fake lottery/sweepstakes: These scams will ask them to buy something small in order be entered in a sweepstakes for a huge (nonexistent) prize. Or, they tell seniors they’ve won the lottery in another country. Scammer will request “winners” send a small amount of money in exchange for their “prize.”
- Family impersonation scheme: A scammer will call and pretend to be a senior’s grandchild (even you!). They’ll say they’re stranded in a foreign country or have been put in jail. They’ll request the senior wire them money immediately.
- Social Security rip-off: A telemarketer or (fake) government official will request a senior’s personal information, like credit card or Social Security number. Then, they’ll contact the Social Security Information and change payment routing info to their own bank accounts.
Help your grandparents be safe, not sorry
- Tell them to air on the side of caution. Be aware of the above.
- If they’re suspicious or unsure, always ask for more or written information. Scammers want to stay distant and anonymous.
- Don’t give personal information (like bank account, credit card, or Social Security numbers). That info is a hacker’s heaven.
- Don’t send money places you don’t trust - especially if you’re grandparents are as generous as most.
When it comes to your grandparents, don’t just protect - connect. Join Grandparents Gone Wired. GO