Staying Away from Financial Elder Abuse

A 90-year-old woman is a recent victim of elder abuse. The financial scammers hacked into the woman’s account and removed $20,000. Frequently, financial abuse scammers present themselves as technical support or service representatives who offer to resolve issues connected to compromised email or bank accounts or even the renewal of software licenses.

In reality, people who are 60 years of age and older are routinely subject to targeting from financial scammers because elderly adults are more financially secure. Elderly adults also routinely experience difficulty with more and are more trusting than younger people. Scams of this nature are growing in number. The Internet Crime Complaint Center recently reported that fraud involving tech support is the third most common type of fraud involving elder adults.

Two years ago, the Internet Crime Complaint received almost 10,000 complaints involving tech scams targeting older adults who encountered over $116 million in losses. Elderly adults represented 66% of the total reports involving tech support fraud.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center reports that financial scammers initially contact victims in one of several ways, which include:

  • Telephone. Older adults are known to receive unsolicited calls from scammers impersonating various tech support workers on the phone.
  • Search engine advertising. Elderly adults rely on web browsers to obtain tech support phone numbers. Financial scammers often pay to have a fraudulent company’s contact information sho higher in search results.
  • Pop-up messages. Elderly adults sometimes are utilizing their computers and receive pop-up messages claiming a virus has been located on their computer. Tech support scam victims are sometimes requested to call phone numbers connected with fraudulent tech support companies.
  • Email: Elderly adults occasionally receive emails stating their support subscription has expired or that a potentially fraudulent charge exists on their account. The victim is then encouraged to contact the scammer via phone.

How Elderly Adults Can Avoid Ending Up Financial Abuse Victims

Elderly adults should view the internet as a free way where the best method to navigate websites is to act defensively. Utilizing some basic internet safety tips can help to make sure that your online experience is an enjoyable one. Some of the security tips that you can follow to stay safe include:

  • Being aware of your situation is one of the best ways to protect yourself. 
  • If you believe that you’ve been the victim of financial abuse, you should not hesitate to be vocal. Any personal embarrassment you might experience should not deter you from reporting your crime. Instead, you should promptly contact law enforcement and your bank if funds have been taken from your account.
  • Consider reporting the scam to the Federal Trade Commission and report it to your local branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. You also should consider filing a complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
  • When making a report of financial fraud, you should make sure to include as many of the following details as possible including the name of the scammer, the date contact occurred, the form of communication, the method of payment, and the amount involved.
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