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How to prevent phone scams against older loved ones


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Scammers are continuing to find new ways to commit elder fraud over the phone. They target seniors for many reasons, but there are preventative steps you can take and tips to follow so you or your loved ones don't become one of the many new victims each year.

From prizes that seem too good to be true to creative ways to convince you that someone needs your help, millions of scams successfully steal money from seniors. The FBI reports $3 billion lost annually from elder fraud, and while you may think you won't be the next target, it's better to be safe than sorry.

People above the age of 65 are the most targeted these days because seniors often:

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If you receive a phone call from someone offering tech support – i.e. someone offering to help fix something in your home or claiming to be Amazon or another big company and saying they can help you avoid fraud – you should be very wary. Don't trust any call out of the blue even if they say they work for a brand or company you recognize.

A common phone scam is when you receive a phone call claiming to be a relative, often a grandchild or other close relative, and they say they need financial help because they're in trouble. Don't believe any suspicious story you're told, even if they claim to be your family member or someone with them. Always check with another family member.

Similar scams involve fraudsters pretending to be a caretaker for someone in the family.

Scammers may pretend to be a government official informing you of a potential charge against you if you don't pay up over a crime you haven't even committed. The IRS, DEA and FBI will never call you to ask for money.

This is a huge one that has gotten more popular recently. Seniors receive phone calls being told they've won some sort of sweepstakes or lottery, and that if they pay a small fee they can receive their full earnings.

Scammers are clever enough to sometimes get advertisements on TV or radio for illegitimate services. They may advertise a service that seems like a good idea to trick you into calling the number provided. Always do research on companies you're going to have to hand over money to – especially ones like mortgage and credit repair companies. A phone number isn't safer to contact than a malicious link.

BEWARE OF THESE 4 HOLIDAY SCAMS

While it may feel embarrassing if you are targeted and fall victim to a scam, know you are not alone. Don't be afraid to speak up and report any scam. There's a chance you can stop someone from scamming others, and you want to take these steps so your personal information isn't compromised.

Be sure to pass along this information to anyone older you love, and look out for other scams that are on the rise. Subscribe to the CyberGuy Report Newsletter at CyberGuy.com/Newsletter to get scam alerts and simply search ‘scams’ at CyberGuy.com. Let me know if you've ever received a fishy phone call that you believe is a scam by reaching us at newsletter@cyberguy.com.

Copyright 2023 CyberGuy.com. All rights reserved. CyberGuy.com articles and content may contain affiliate links that earn a commission when purchases are made.

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