Seniors are a vulnerable population that scammers notoriously take advantage of. In the age of technology, it’s become much easier to con seniors. Many seniors may have email addresses, social media accounts and cell phones that make them easier targets for scammers.
You can help prevent financial catastrophe by warning the seniors in your life about the schemes scammers use. One of the most prevalent schemes at the moment is the “grandparent scam”.
What Is the Grandparent Scam?
The relationship between a grandparent and their grandchildren is often a special one. Your parents may have trouble saying no to your children (or nieces and nephews). Unfortunately, there are those who exploit these bonds.
In typical scams, the miscreants peruse public social media accounts looking for information that will help them target seniors. They may dig through the grandchildren’s accounts to find out information about them or garner what they need from grandparents’ accounts. With just a little information in hand, they call, email or text the grandparents and pretend to be one of their grandchildren.
The scam usually starts off like this: the “grandchild” is in serious trouble. The trouble could be a car accident or drunk driving arrest. The imposter may also claim to be stranded out of the country with no money to get home. Whatever the invented emergency, the caller asks for money and pleads with the grandparent not to let anyone else know. A panicked grandparent may not think to ask questions and send the caller the requested money.
How Can You Help Your Parents?
Cases of fraud for those over 60 are on the rise. In 2021, 92,371 seniors were fraud victims, with losses totaling $1.7 billion and averaging $18,236 per person. If your parents are seniors and you’re concerned about them falling for one of these scams, you can protect them by providing them with information. At AmeriEstate, we recommend you take the following steps:
- Tell your parents to call you immediately if someone contacts them asking for money, whether it’s a grandchild, government agency or anyone else, even if the caller asks them to keep the request a secret.
- Assist them in establishing a living trust, which allows them control over their assets without leaving a significant amount of money on hand to give to anyone asking for cash delivered immediately.
- Help them set up their phones and social media accounts with tight privacy controls.
- Let them know they shouldn’t trust caller ID. Scammers know how to manipulate technology to make it appear from a known person or familiar phone number.
- Remind them not to click on links or open attachments in emails that aren’t from known email accounts, even if the sender claims to be a grandchild.
- Inform your parents that these imposters usually ask for money through wire transfers, but they may also request gift cards or cash. All of these are virtually untraceable.
It’s essential that your parents know not to panic, no matter what kind of emergency the caller claims.
If you’d like more information about how to help your parents protect their assets to make them less vulnerable to the grandparent scam, AmeriEstate attorneys are happy to assist. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.