Scams Target Older Americans at an Alarming Rate
The number of elderly victims impacted by fraud has risen at an alarming rate, while the loss amounts are even more staggering. In 2021, over 92,000 victims over the age of 60 reported losses of $1.7 billion to the IC3. This represents a 74% increase in losses over 2020. Many of these member-targeted scams involve fraudulent wire transfers reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars, specifically targeting your elderly members.
There are several reasons why senior citizens are being exploited:
- Increased social media use by older Americans
- Many seniors still have landline numbers listed in phone books, making them an easier target for telephone scammers
- Seniors represent a vast amount of wealth that is targeted by fraudsters
Elder financial abuse is a growing issue for credit unions and while there is legislation to protect the elderly, credit union employees are often in the position to recognize and help protect their elderly members from financial exploitation. Tech Support Fraud is the most reported fraud by seniors with 13,900 complaints representing almost $238 million in losses.
Here are some tips credit unions to help prevent you or you loved ones from becoming victims of tech support fraud:
- Never give control of your computer to anyone who contacts you. If you receive a call about a computer problem, hang up. If you suspect something is wrong with your computer or believe the scammer obtained access to it, bring it to a reputable company for a malware check.
- Don't trust phone numbers provided in an email, voicemail, or popup ad. If you want to call the company, use the customer service number on their official website.
- If you are asked to wire money from a recent deposit or overpayment, discuss the situation with a banker, trusted friend, or family member. Be truthful about the situation since many scammers direct you to lie about why you're sending money.
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