Financial fraud is effecting an alarming 1 in every 18 seniors a year. From retirement scams to illicit bank transfers, elderly people are increasing becoming the focus of fraudsters and even companies who are operating within a grey area of the law.
So why are older people more commonly targeted?
Why Are Senior Citizens Targeted?
One of the biggest reasons seniors are targeted are because they are retirees who have large pension or retirement savings pots. What’s more, their outgoings are usually very low as they’ve likely paid off their mortgage. Which means they have a lot more dispensable income than most other generations.
Besides the fact they are sitting on large amounts of money, their advanced years can sometimes lead to declines in their mental capacity. Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and general confusion are common conditions amongst those who are aged 70 years and above. Making them more susceptible to scams and fraud.
It’s for this reason that some elderly people aren’t even aware that they’ve been scammed or defrauded of their money. Therefore, it’s useful to know what to look out for if you’re a senior citizen or know someone who is.
What are the Top 3 Scams Aimed at Elderly Individuals?
The vast majority of scams take place over the telephone or online via email, rather than in person. Here the top 3.
1. Tax Scam
There a couple of methods to this scam. Either a fraudster will call and tell the victim that they are due a tax refund and wants them to hand over their bank details so that they can wire over the money. In actual fact they will use that information to send themselves the contents of the victim’s bank account.
Alternatively, they may demand that they are acting on behalf of the tax authorities, demanding that the victim makes a payment to cover the remainder of the tax they owe. By insisting that they make a payment now to avoid an even bigger fine, the caller puts pressure on senior citizen to bow to their demands.
It’s important to remember that tax authorities rarely ever use email or telephone to communicate with citizens, and therefore if the demand is not made in writing it is unlikely to be genuine.
2. Bank Transfer
There are even more variations to this scam which mostly take place over the telephone, but all end with the same result, which is the victim transferring money from their bank account to the scammer’s. Sometimes this is initially under the guise that their bank account is compromised and they need to move the money in order to safeguard it.
In other instances, fraudsters will say that the victim’s bank account is out-of-date and that they need to transfer the existing balance to the new account. Either way seniors can unknowingly empty their bank account.
3. Internet Anti-Virus Protection
To many senior citizens the internet can be difficult-to-understand concept. One of the most common ways they are targeted online is by pop-ups or phishing emails stating that they have contracted a virus on their computer.
They then provide a link to a so-called anti-virus program that can remove the virus when in actual fact that virus installs a virus. Seniors often click on the link allowing scammers to monitor critical information such as keystrokes to obtain passwords to important online accounts such as retirement savings or pensions.
How to File a Complaint After a Fraud or Scam?
In the first instance make sure to alert any financial institution who is looking after your or a senior relative’s money so that their anti-fraud team can take action straight away. If they don’t take the necessary action you can launch a complaint about how they’ve handled your case.
What’s more, if the scammers claim to be a legitimate company, it’s vital that you complain in as many outlets as possible to let others know that they are not a genuine outfit. It’s always a good idea to launch the complaint in writing too so that you have a traceable record of it.
You can also use our website to get your complaint the attention it deserves. By filing a complaint with us, you alert thousands of other users to the fraud or scam and furthermore we broadcast your issues to world using our social media channels so that companies react faster and your complaint is resolved quicker.
Click on the button below to start our online complaints process.