Older adults being targeted more often with scam calls and texts

Older adults being targeted more often with scam calls and texts

According to the Federal Trades Commission's Consumer Sentinel Network, Older adults being targeted more often with scam calls and texts.

Older adults are being targeted more often with scam calls and texts, according to the Federal Trades Commission. But what steps are necessary to protect our loved ones from scammers?

There are few ways to figure out a phone call or text message is a scam. Marti DeLiema, an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota, said scammers have become more clever in manipulating older adults being targeted for scams.

“In the past, we used to look for things like spelling errors or maybe phone calls from pushy salespeople,” DeLiema siad. “But that’s no longer kind of the name of the game.”

DeLiema says when it comes to determining a scam it starts with analyzing the message.

“Look for the content of the message. Does it encourage you to act now? Is there a threat involved? Is it something that says, ‘We have information that your identity has been hacked or exposed,’. Or ‘there’s fraud on your account.'” DeLiema said. “All of those types of messages are intended to evoke an emotional response.”

Young adults reported losing money to fraud more often than older people. But when people aged 70 years or older had a loss, the median loss was much higher, according to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network. Deliema said older adults are also more at risk to being scammed. Although there are some easy ways to tell if there emails are scams.

“Of course, if there are spelling errors, if the email address doesn’t actually match the identity of the sender, like Amazon is spelled wrong or it’s not a real government agency. Older adults are perhaps less likely to report when they’ve experienced a scam relative to a young adult.”

In the past year there has been 20% increase of identity theft. Also a 16% increase in people being scammed according to the Consumer Sentinel Network. However, there are steps do help to prevent being scammed.

“There’s a saying in my field of work, forewarned is forearmed. So simply having knowledge of a particular scam does seem to protect people when they’re exposed and when they receive that suspicious phone call or text message. That’s the first thing that people can do. The second thing that we also do is that as we age, we need to start having conversations about advanced financial management.”

Next month the Senior Linkage Line® will offer two free online classes covering health care fraud, waste & abuse prevention.

Attendees will learn how to detect and report potential errors, fraud, and abuse; review potential fraud and scams targeting older adults, learn how to read their Medicare paperwork, learn how to protect their Medicare beneficiary number, and how to protect/detect/report Medicare scams and fraud.

This presentation includes information from the Senior Medicare Patrol, a federal education and prevention program. This class is offered online using the Microsoft Teams meeting platform. You must pre-register by going to: www.arrowheadaging.org/classes-workshops-trainings or by calling the Senior LinkAge Line at 800-333-2433.

If you have an accommodation request that will allow you to participate in the class more fully, please contact Dianne as dkiser@ardc.org by April 5, 2024.

You can find that information here. Also for other stories about preventing scams you can read more here.