Why Do Scammers Target Seniors?

Every week we read new reports of widespread scams targeting seniors that cost them their hard-earned money. You might wonder: why do these scams seem to particularly affect senior citizens? And how do I avoid them, or help my elderly parent avoid them?

Based on research done by the American Institute of CPAs, seniors are especially likely to be targets of scams because they have accumulated more money on average (due to their age) compared to the rest of the population. Additionally, they have better credit on average. Scams often are initiated over the telephone, but they also can be via email or computer software.

It’s also likely that the genuine desire to talk to someone (anyone) on the phone plays a role. AgingCare reports that 43% of seniors feel lonely on a regular basis. If you’re a widow, for example, and you’re lonely often, you might be happy to talk to anyone on the phone regardless of whether they’re trying to scam you.

How to Protect Your Senior Loved One

So one way to approach this thorny issue is to get right to the roots of it. You might help your aging parent or care recipient get more involved socially so they’re not at risk of being lonely. This indirect approach will not only improve their lives but also help reduce their phone scam risk!

Another tactic to prevent scams targeting seniors is to set up different software security measures that the senior themselves doesn’t have to operate. Software services like LifeLock which is an identity theft monitoring product, can alert the caregiver or the senior when a scammer is trying to steal their identity. A service like this simply runs in the background for a monthly fee, and so long as nothing is wrong, the senior won’t even have to know it’s there.

You can also talk with the senior in your life about what they can do to reduce their scam risk. Because after all, no matter how many different systems you set up for them, there will be times that they have to make a decision for themselves like whether to answer an unidentified number.

Printing out this infographic and talking over the risks might be a good approach. It’s 30 minutes that might save them tons of money in the future by preventing a scam.

We’ve laid out several different approaches in this post, but ultimately there are many successful ways to reduce scam or fraud risk. Let us know in the comments what your personal approach is, and what you think about the suggestions in the graphic!

As always, if you have questions or concerns about caring for your senior loved one, please contact the Assisted Living Services or Assisted Living Technologies office.