Everyone is headed back to the office more and more – including scammers. Recently I have heard of a few of my friends’ parents being the victim of these crimes. Not only are scams targeting older adults everywhere, they are more sophisticated for several reasons.

Here are some of them:
  • There are master keys floating around in several communities that give thieves access to the blue USPS drop boxes.
  • Companies you deal with seem to send you requests for action now via email or phone. Sometimes the action is to confirm your social security number.
  • Your personal information is all over the internet (some of it you put on social media) so thieves can find out more about you than ever.
  • Artificial intelligence is making scams more convincing. From Chat GPT writing scripts for people to use over the phone or to actually simulate the voice of a loved one, AI is making it harder to separate real from fake.
  • We are now letting more people into our homes since the pandemic. From caregivers to repairmen more people are entering our personal space.
  • As the baby boom generation ages, there are just more older people to scam.
What can you do to prevent theft of life savings of the older adults in your life?
  1. Put checks or other letters with personal information into a drop box inside the post office only.
  2. Click on the address of a suspicious email. It is probably not from that company. No company or government entity will ask for your social security number over the phone, via email or social media.
  3. If you think the call may be legitimate, look up the number and call the company directly.
  4. Be careful about TMI (too much information) on social media about you and family members.
  5. If you get a call from a distressed grandchild, develop either a code word in advance or ask them about the name of the cat when they were young (especially if they never had a cat). Most kids in trouble would call parents even if they say on the call they are too afraid.
  6. Only deal with companies you know and trust or are recommended by someone you know. If someone knocks on your door and says they have extra material and can give you a discount that is a major red flag. For major jobs make sure you have a contract.

The best defense is a good offense. If you prevent scams by using these tips, you are less likely to fall pray to a bad actor who wants to steal your hard earned money.