How to protect your older loved ones from phone scams
Phone scams target the segment of a population considered to be naïve. Older people, many with cognitive dissorders, are the most frequent targets to scams as they may be lonely, they are willing to listen and are more trusting.
According to the US National Council on Aging, financial scams targeting seniors have become so prevalent that they’re now considered “the crime of the 21st century.” Why? Because seniors are thought to have a significant amount of money sitting in their accounts. Couple that with a friendly older person who is willing to listen to anyone calling and it is not hard to understand the appeal of this method.
One of the most common tactics to get older persons to wire them money is by claiming to be a family member in trouble – maybe their car broke down or they need money for urgent medical care. If they start the call by asking „Hi grandma! Do you know who this is?“ and the unsuspecting grandparent guesses the name of the grandchild the scammer sounds like, a fake identity supporting their urgent need of money is in place and there is a good chance to succeed.
They might also ask money by posing as a fake charity, especially after a natural disaster has occured.
Another common tactics is to call as a fake IRS or bank employee and ask for enough information to access senior’s account or get hold of their credit card info. IRS and banks never ask this kind of info via the phone and if an older person gets a call like that, it is a sure sign of a scam, but will they recognise it and know how to act? They don’t know the details of how things might work today and if on the ohter side of the phone call is an official sounding person with fake but real sounding credentials, it is easy to see how the scare tactics will work.
Of course there are many more scenarios with which scammers can attack older people. Our world and technology changes so fast that one does not have to be cognitively impaired to fall for a scam claiming something an older person is not familiar with.
There is one common thing with all these tactics and scenarios – a sense of urgency.
Scammers insist that whatever they are calling about needs to be addressed immediately or there will be serious consequences, lost opportunities, etc.
There is another common nominator for all these scenarios – strangers can call your older loved ones. If they have cognitive decline or they are just too trusting, it is easy for scammers to get what they want.
With GrandTime older people can only call your pre-approved contacts and only the same people can call the older person. This eliminates the biggest premise in phone scams, rendering them useless – being able to call the victim.
Jokers can now say that disconnecting the mobile phone or landline also helps, but this „solution“ brings with itself social isolation which leads to whole lot of other issues, both mental and physical.