Scammers will always pick a soft target and in todays very confusing technological age there is no softer target than the elderly. There are, of course, many varied scams and frauds that we can fall pray to but elder fraud is aimed specifically at older members of society. This group is seen as being more likely to fall for certain types of scam. So whether you are in the older age group or have a parent or grandparent who might fall pray to these particularly callous types of fraud, at Wilson’s we have put together a guide that we hope will help you to be wary. Unfortunately, at Wilson’s Detectives we are seeing more and more of this kind of fraud so if you feel fell that you know someone who is being targeted, we are ready to help.
The return on investment scam
This kind of scam targets older people who will often be seeking a shorter-term investment that will give them a top up to their retirement income. For a generation unused to having skepticism as a default setting, it can look tempting to get a quick return on investment and a supplement, each month, to their income. As we always say at Wilson’s if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!
The insurance scheme
This kind of scam taps into the idea that older people might not be as worried about what they have now, as they are with what they will leave for their families. The approach for this type of scam might be by phone initially or by email in which the scammer will persuade them to buy an annuity or an insurance policy. Normally this will be a completely made up scheme that will yield nothing. To add to the complexity of this type of fraud is the fact that sometimes it has been perpetrated by legitimate agents and there has even been a case of one agent being caught several times scamming older people in this way.
Internet problems scam
This is a scam where the older person is contacted by phone usually and told that their Internet provider is contacting them because there is some problem with their computer. They will then be asked for money to have the problem fixed. The advice here is to contact your Internet provider separately and check.
The grandparent scam
This kind of scam is really a type of phishing scam and will usually be someone being in contact to say that a grandchild or other family member needs money urgently because they are stuck in some troubling situation, usually abroad. The message will say that the money is needed right away to help with medical costs or because the person has lost all their money and travel documents. This is a scam that is designed to pull on the heartstrings of the older person and one scammer reported that over fifty people had fallen for his scam perpetrated along these lines.
At Wilsons Detectives we see a lot of this kind of fraud, targeting older people, and we hope this guide will help. However if you think that you are being targeted or have an older friend or relative being preyed on in this way, we can help. Next week, in the third of our scam series, we will be covering Extortion.