Tips for Keeping Seniors Safe From Scammers
Keeping Seniors Safe From Scammers
Millions of elderly fall for confidence and financial scams every year. Elderly victims of financial scammers are a common phenomenon. The FBI reports that older citizens lose over $3 billion to fraud each year.
We’ve all had relatives getting on in years ask us about a “deal” they got in an email or phone call that seemed too good to be true. The only reason it didn’t turn out to be a scam is because our loved one had the sense to stop and check with us about it.
Cybercriminals have honed their craft to the point where it is nearly impossible to recognize a fake—especially when they have exact information about the victim, usually gained online, and this is why dozens of seniors fall prey to internet scams every day.
Fortunately, cyber detectives are always looking for new methods employed by online criminals, especially those targeting the elderly.
Scams Against Seniors: What Is It? Why Do Con Artists Prey on the Elderly?
Financial or identity theft, among other scams, are examples of elder fraud since they target the elderly.
Scammers target the elderly by making them believe they will receive free or discounted goods or services. Once they have the victim’s trust, con artists steal their money, health insurance, or valuables.
There are Many Reasons Why Con Artists Prey on the Elderly:
- People with this trait tend to believe more in others who promise to look out for them.
- They usually have a sizable nest egg or other valuable assets. This makes them attractive prey for con artists.
- Because of their lack of technological awareness, they are more susceptible to being duped by email, phone, or social media.
- They might be unable to use their best judgment because of mental or physical disabilities.
- They can fear retaliation or be labeled incompetent if they disclose the scam.
Most of the time, people closest to the victims are the ones who commit acts of elder abuse. For instance, a family member might apply for a credit card in an elderly relative’s name.
Frauds that Prey on the Elderly
Familiarising yourself with some of the most popular tactics scammers use to steal money, bank information, and other personal details is one of the most significant ways to defend yourself from scams at any age.
The problem of elderly fraud was examined by Tianyi Zhang et al. (2023) in an article titled “Elder Financial Exploitation in the Digital Age.”During the COVID-19 pandemic, many elderly people were anxious about their health and finances and were isolated from loved ones.
The authors noted increased complaints of financial exploitation of the elderly during this time. As a result of their age and the fact that many of them still prefer more analog means of contact, senior citizens have become an easy target for online con artists.
In addition, Zhang et al. pointed out that many elderly people face risk factors due to their dependence on others, even when societal problems are ignored.
These include having fewer social supports than younger people, having diminished cognitive abilities, needing assistance with fundamental tasks like managing money, and needing help making sound financial decisions.
Many seniors remain at risk because of age-related declines in immunity and cognitive function, even if they become more adept at using digital technologies and social media.
Commerce and Love
Which Con Artists Targeted the Elderly the Most?
We could have been hit by the same bad luck as the rest of us. According to research by Zhang and colleagues, romantic fraud was the most expensive financial swindle targeted at seniors, costing victims $139 million.
The popularity of internet dating, social networking, and other platforms during the pandemic made these activities more appealing to people of all ages.
Those looking to scam the elderly would “court” them online, playing on their need for human connection to scam them out of money for an “emergency.”
According to Zhang and coworkers, pandemic con artists also utilized COVID fears as an out for in-person meetings.
The elderly are a common target for retail scammers. According to research by Zhang and colleagues, incidences of internet purchasing fraud targeting seniors more than doubled during the epidemic.
They said that as people shopped more online and became more isolated, fraudsters took advantage by posting misleading ads on mobile apps and social media and setting up fake online storefronts that sold inferior goods or didn’t ship.
Scammers who prey on the elderly have followed their lead in shifting their payment methods from cash and checks to gift cards and credit cards.
Scam Prevention Legislation for the Elderly
Several laws have been passed to safeguard elders against financial scammers, and these laws have many similarities.
Researching the rules in your state is essential because some jurisdictions have legislation protecting individuals of a specific age and adults dependent on others.
In light of the varying legal definitions of “elder,” which include age as one factor among several that contribute to a person’s susceptibility to abuse, this is especially true.
Laws prohibiting financial fraud may also protect victims of financial exploitation by strangers.
It is always a good idea to keep an eye on state laws as they evolve over time, as the legal system is constantly changing to keep up with resourceful criminals.
With the right amount of situational awareness and familiarity with prevalent patterns of deceit, we can ensure the safety of the most defenseless among us.
Scams Involving Funerals
One of the worst types of elder fraud involves scammers taking advantage of the bereaved. Con artists will comb through death notices to attend a funeral and falsely claim that the deceased owed them money.
Funeral Scam Red Flags:
- At the funeral, an unknown person demands money.
- Someone who claims to have known the deceased approaches you, but they have no proof of their acquaintanceship.
Elderly people are called and told they have won millions of dollars but must pay taxes or administrative fees before they can collect their winnings.
How it Operates:
Scammers contact the elderly and tell them they won a lottery, a sweepstakes, or a contest that they didn’t even enter. However, winners are need to submit their banking details and pay any applicable fees or taxes before receiving their payouts.
Con artists will frequently keep their victims on the hook for months, even years, by constantly demanding more money. However, those who fall for this fraud will just lose their money.
Red flags for lottery and sweepstakes scams:
- Someone close to you or you receives news that you have won a significant sum of money in a contest you didn’t even enter.
- The other party requests immediate payment using a manner that cannot be traced back to you (gift cards, wire transfers, etc.).
- They need your bank details so they can make the deposit.
A Con on Grandparents
Calls or emails to grandparents pretending to be from authorities or medical staff requesting assistance for a relative in need (due rent, cash for auto repairs, etc.).
The “grandchild” could even ask the “grandparent” to identify the caller by name. Medical or legal expenses are frequently used as pretexts for wire transfer fraud.
How it Operates:
As a form of social engineering, the “grandparent scam” involves con artists claiming the victim’s grandchild is in danger. Scammers posing as police officers call grandparents to tell them their grandson has been in an accident or is under investigation for a crime.
To “save” their grandchild, the con artists will next ask for a significant cash withdrawal or wire transfer.
The con artist will go so far as to utilize the victim’s grandchild’s genuine name and other identifying details they discover online to further cement the legitimacy of the deception. Sometimes, the con artist may even impersonate the grandchild, implying they are in serious difficulty.
Modern con artists use ridesharing services like Uber to collect envelopes containing cash.
Scams targeting grandparents and how to spot them
- Someone calls you out of the blue and says your grandchild or other relative is in immediate danger.
- Cash, gift cards, or wire transfers are all requested payment methods.
- If you try to verify the information, the caller won’t let you hang up or make threats.
- The caller employs trickery, intimidation, and pressure to get a rapid response.
Ransomware or Virus Scam
Users are tricked into downloading either a bogus anti-virus program (at a high cost) or an actual virus (which gives the scammers remote access to the computer). In addition, prompts say the machine is locked, and the user must pay up quickly or lose access to their files.
Cybercriminals utilize ransomware, malware (malicious software), to extort money from their victims. When ransomware infects a computer from a virus, it encrypts files, and users cannot access them.
Cybercriminals hold data for ransom and only release it after receiving payment. Protecting yourself from ransomware requires a combination of vigilance and security tools.
After falling victim to ransomware, users have three options:
- Pay the ransom,
- Attempt to remove the software themselves,
- Or restart the device.
Extortion trojans typically exploit software flaws, phishing emails, and the Remote Desktop Protocol to gain access to victim systems. This means that any organization or person might be the target of a ransomware assault.
Scammers Tech Support
Scammers pose as tech support agents from reputable businesses and trick you into paying for fake or needless repairs. Scammers will often establish phony websites with a contact phone number.
How it Operates:
A technology scam occurs when a scammer poses as a representative from a reputable company like Apple or Microsoft. They’ll say your computer or gadget is at risk of virus infection. Then, they’ll try to fool you into giving them remote access or buying unnecessary software.
The purpose may be to get the victim to download a piece of software they think will be helpful to them.
However, when this occurs, malware makes the victim’s banking information vulnerable to cyber attacks.
The elderly are a typical target of pop-up adverts on websites, and phone calls are a standard method of fraud.
The most recent data from the FBI estimates that victims of tech support scams lost over $200 million.
Red flags for fake tech support:
- You’ve been getting calls concerning tech support you still need to request. Companies like Apple will never call you to inform you of these problems on their own accord.
- A website’s pop-up ad warns you that your computer is infected with viruses or offers to “speed up” your system.
- The caller employs scare techniques to coerce you into performing an action, such as installing software or opening an attachment.
A senior citizen is targeted by email scams that pose as requests from reliable organizations to “update” or “verify” personal data. Along with other social media platforms like Facebook, con artists use LinkedIn to harvest user data.
Once they have the victim’s contact information, they can utilize it to make the victim think their contact is trying to get in touch with them.
How it Works;
The elderly are a particularly vulnerable demographic for telemarketing and phishing fraud. Robocalls and spam attacks use a high volume of emails or phone calls to exploit unsuspecting victims.
All of these transmissions have the same format. The call or message appears to come from an organisation you recognise, such as your bank, the Internal Revenue Service, or even a well-known entertainment service like Netflix. But if you do, they will try to steal your identity, your passwords, and your financial information.
Spam emails are extremely dangerous. Malware software and apps can be installed on your computer without your knowledge. If you visit a malicious webpage or link, you will lose your secret information, bank account, password, etc..
Robocall and phishing message red flags:
- Automated messages warn you that you’re in danger or something terrible will happen. There will never be an automated phone call from the IRS or any other government agency.
- Someone contacts you by phone or email and claims they must “verify” personal information to keep your internet account safe.
- You receive a short, exciting message or email with a link or attachment you don’t recognise or expect.
An elderly person receives a frightful phone call claiming their name or Social Security number was used in a criminal act, such as purchasing narcotics or stealing a vehicle.
Bogus organizations try to scam you out of donations. This is common following significant events like natural disasters. Check out charity rating sites like Charity Navigator and CharityWatch before donating.
The idea behind charity scams is to take advantage of your altruistic nature. Criminals commit identity theft and financial fraud by posing as charitable organisations. After a natural calamity, con artists will often target the elderly.
They’ll say they’re supporting disaster victims and ask for money. However, if you pay them money or reveal your financial details, they will vanish with your money and information.
Warning signs for fake charity organisations:
- It is not included in authoritative charity evaluation resources like Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.
- Indicators of fraud can be found by searching for the charity’s name plus “fraud/scam/complaint” on Google.
- The nonprofit’s name sounds like that of a larger group.
Scamming Social Security
Scammers pose as SSA officials and ask for money, claiming they need it to make COLA adjustments for their victims.
Warning Signs: Four Common Red Flags
If you know what to look for in a scam, you can avoid falling victim and alert authorities.
Although there are different types of scams, they all function similarly.
- Scammers scam you by pretending to come from a reputable company or government department.
- Scammers will falsely claim you have won a prize or have an issue.
- Scammers are experts at putting you under time pressure.
- Cons will direct you to make a specific type of payment.
Scammers’ Common Methods
Scammers frequently try new methods and send different messages to deceive their victims. Following SSA OIG on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook or signing up for email alerts is a great way to remain abreast of breaking news or critical advisories.
These are warning signs; rest assured that Social Security will.
- Make arrest or legal action possible if you don’t pay up immediately.
- Put a hold on receiving Social Security benefits.
- Say they need your personal data or money to implement a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) or other benefit increase when they still need to do both.
- Put you under intense time constraints to do anything, such as giving out sensitive information.
- Request that you pay using one of the following: a gift card, a prepaid debit card, a wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or cash.
- Make a threatening remark about taking your money.
- Encourage you to shift your funds to a “safe” bank account.
- Request anonymity.
- Send me a note on Facebook or Twitter.
Think critically and watch for warning signs. The sender of a questionable phone call, text, email, letter, or social media message isn’t who they say they are. Conspirators sometimes also:
- Use actual names of those who work for the Social Security Administration or the Office of Inspector General.
- Calls to “spoof” government and police numbers are considered fraud.
- U.S. Postal Service or as an attachment to an email, text, or social media communication.
Credentials and badges issued by the federal government must be copied without violating the law. Neither federal law enforcement nor federal government employees will ever use a photograph of a credential or badge to compel money.
False Tax Returns
A senior citizen gets a call or a voicemail from someone saying they’re from the Internal Revenue Service. The con artist will threaten the victim with arrest unless immediate payment is made to settle tax debts.
Health Insurance Fraudsters
Scammers target the elderly by pretending to be from Medicare and asking for personal information over the phone to send them a replacement card or discounted supplemental insurance.
Discounts on Medications, Scams Associated With Online Purchasing (Fake Goods, Failure to Deliver, etc.)
Scammers advertise low-cost medicines to capitalize on the high expense of medical care. They might even risk sending a sample of a potentially dangerous medicine.
How it Operates:
Scams targeting online users are familiar. However, the elderly are disproportionately affected by internet purchasing fraud. More than 13,000 elders complained to the FBI in 2021 about non-delivery or counterfeit goods, making it the second most reported fraud among that demographic.
Scams targeting consumers who shop online take numerous shapes and sizes. You can end up with fake pharmaceuticals or cosmetics. Another option is your credit card information on a phishing website.
Online buying red flags to look out for:
- Unprofessional website presentation or spelling mistakes.
- Your purchases on this website may not be safe. So, it’s not using HTTPS but plain old HTTP instead.
Bogus Investment Prospects
A financial adviser contacts you to give you a once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity by phone or email. Something that seems too fantastic to be true usually is.
How it Operates:
- Many retirees have worked diligently to build substantial nest eggs. However, doing so exposes them to the possibility that they would lose their money on fraudulent investments.
- Criminals in an investment fraud often act as though they are responsible financial advisers. They’ll call out of the blue offering what sounds like a great deal on investments but is actually a scam. However, this is an attempt to scam victims out of transaction fees or stolen “investments.”
There are Multiple Investment Scams that Prey on the Elderly:
- Ponzi schemes are fraudulent financial operations that pay off early investors with funds from later investors. The elderly are frequently targeted by Ponzi schemes that promise high profits with minimal effort.
- Bond and CD fraud: Con artists pose as respectable financial institutions offering these low-risk assets to dupe watchful retirees. However, these investments are either not real or do not provide the promised return.
- Giving a substantial quantity of money to charity in exchange for a regular payout is called a charitable contribution annuity. However, frequently these “charities” don’t even exist, and any donations you make go straight to the scammer.
- Con artists using the prime bank fraud claim to have insider knowledge of “secret overseas markets.” However, the entire story is a hoax, and any money you provide will be taken.
The golden rule of fraud applies here: if an investment opportunity for seniors looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Red flags for fake investment opportunities:
- They advertise substantial profits with minimal danger. No investment is ever completely secure or guaranteed to yield a profit.
- The “advisor” use high-pressure sales techniques to induce you to make a hasty decision without performing adequate research.
- Your initial capital is locked in and cannot be withdrawn.
Cons Involving Reverse Mortgages
Many retirees have equity in their houses that they would like to convert into a constant stream of income. Homeowners over 62 can take advantage of reverse mortgages to access their equity.
Scammers, however, use billboards, advertisements, and pamphlets to target the elderly with reverse mortgage fraud. They’ll say they’re assisting you in gaining equity access. But they just take your money or “steal” your house through deed fraud.
Some Other Examples of Reverse Mortgage Fraud are as Follows:
- Reverse mortgages can help seniors in financial need avoid losing their homes to foreclosure. Loan fraudsters prey on these victims by promising quick approval for a loan in exchange for a large up-front payment.
- Con artists posing as contractors may offer “free” consultations in exchange for personal information. They’ll persuade the elderly homeowners to get a reverse mortgage to afford to make expensive, pointless house “updates.”
Possible red flags of a reverse mortgage scam:
- Sales methods that use pressure to convince you to agree to a reverse mortgage before you’ve done your research.
- It has been asserted that one requires power of attorney to close a reverse mortgage.
- Your contractors or suppliers may recommend getting a reverse mortgage if you need expensive repairs.
Scammers Claims for Refunds
Scammers target the elderly by claiming they have been given too much money owing to an accounting error.
Scammers target the elderly by pretending to give discounts on various insurance policies, including homeowners’, vehicle, and life policies.
Prevention From Scammers
1. Money Scams Can Come From Anyone.
Therefore, it’s essential to be mindful of the people around you and the people you trust the most.
Most (over 90%) elder abuse cases involve members of the victim’s family, most commonly adult children, grandkids, nieces, and nephews.
Physical abuse, threats, intimidation, and denial of primary care needs are standard, as is the emptying of a joint bank account, the promise of care in exchange for money or property, and open theft.
Even those with little in the way of money or possessions might fall victim to monetary abuse. Learn to recognise the top 10 most typical scams that prey on the elderly.
2, Don’t Withdraw Into Yourself; Keep Active.
Elderly mistreatment is greatly exacerbated by social isolation. Abuse of the elderly, like most forms of domestic violence, typically occurs in secret.
Some retirees want to live in solitary confinement, cutting themselves from society. Others become marginalised when they lose mobility due to vision or driving impairments.
Some elderly people are afraid to go out because they will become the target of pickpockets or worse.
The Eldercare Locator can help you identify local resources that can support your active lifestyle as you age. You might also visit or call a senior centre in your area.
3. Inform Solicitors, “
I only buy from (or give to) anyone who phones or visits me after making an appointment. Just put it in writing and send it to me.
Only give your personal information over the phone; hold to make a purchase until you’ve seen the offer in writing.
With the possible exception of children you know from the neighbourhood selling Girl Scout cookies or school fundraising products, you should avoid donating to organisations that ask for your credit card number on any form.
Before doing business with a salesman, getting their full name, company name, phone number, physical and mailing addresses, and business licence number is prudent. And remember to take your time whenever making a choice.
4. Discard Any and All Credit Card Statements and Receipts.
The theft of personal information is big business. Get a paper shredder for security purposes and use it often. Keep a good check on your credit card and bank statements, and only give out information over the phone if you initiated the call.
5, Put Your Name on the National “Do Not Call” Registry and Unsubscribe from all Possible Mailing Lists.
- Stop telemarketers from calling you by visiting Do Not Call.
- Guard your mail with your life.
- Keep correspondence from piled up for extended periods in your mailbox.
- Dropping off confidential mail at a safe pickup box or the post office is a good option.
- You can monitor your credit scores and look for discrepancies or errors using AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Visit On Guard Online to play interactive games that will make you a more informed consumer regarding malware, lottery scams, and more.
6, Consider Switching to Direct Deposit to Avoid Stealing Your Benefit Checks from Your Mailbox.
Direct deposit allows you to deposit checks directly into your bank account. Benefits checks can be stolen from seniors’ mailboxes or residences if they are left lying around by con artists or even well-meaning family members.
Let’s say you receive money on a regular basis in the form of a check in the mail. This may be Social Security, a tax return, veterans’ benefits, or something else. If so, a recent case may provide the strongest argument for choosing direct deposit as your method of receiving payment.
United States. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Sam Olens announced in December that 15 defendants had been sentenced in a case involving the theft of over $10 million by forging signatures on approximately 6,000 checks and cashing them at Walmart and Kroger locations across several states (including Mississippi).
The majority of the payments were made by the United States Treasury to retirees.
7. Never Give Up Financial or Personal Information On Phone.
One of the most common frauds targeting seniors is the improper use of Medicare funds. Common scams involve charging recipients for goods or services never provided and peddling unnecessary products or services.
Do not give out your Medicare number to anyone or let them use it in any way, just like you would your credit card, bank account, or Social Security number.
Be careful of salespeople who try to convince you that their product or service is covered by Medicare.
8, Only Trust People Who Offer You Something For Free, and lways do Your Homework.
Try to buy only from reputable companies. Before making a purchase, it’s a good idea to pick up the phone and research. If you need help deciding, bring a companion who can help you see things from several angles.
Also, before signing any agreements or contracts, double-check that your specific needs have been spelt out in detail. Learn the rules for refunds and contract cancellations.
Do not give in to any pressure to buy, sign a contract, or part with any money in your dealings as a customer. You, and only you, have the last say on these matters.
9, Be Sympathetic Yet Not Patronizing.
The conversation with elderly loved ones can be fruitful and not condescending if you start by acknowledging that scams affect people of all ages.
According to Amy Nofziger, the director of fraud victim support at the AARP, the best way is to share knowledge rather than lecture. “I was just telling my mum, ‘Oh my god, I just read about an article about an email fraud. She suggests,
“Do you want me to help set up your email box so anybody in your contacts is a high priority?
“is an excellent question to ask first. “Or, ‘I don’t suggest reading your spam email, Mom. I’d just ignore it and remove it.
10, Take Advantage of Modern Gadgets.
Some data suggests that con artists prey on the young on the internet, while the elderly are more prone to pick up the phone and fall victim to con artists.
Nofziger recommends beginning with the person’s mobile device and “tackling” it before moving on to other security measures.
First, enter the phone numbers of everyone calling your loved one, such as friends, family, doctors, and the drugstore. “It can be entertaining to put their picture in there so that when that person calls, a picture of them pops up,” she explains.
Then, access the phone’s settings (methods may vary by model) and choose the option for calls from unknown numbers to be automatically sent to voicemail.
“Anyone calling you with an emergency situation will more often than not be in your contacts,” explains Nofziger.
And if someone needs to get in touch with you but needs your direct line, they’ll leave a message, and you may select whether or not to return the call at your leisure.
You can use the same strategy with electronic mail. Nofziger recommends prioritizing emails from people in your loved one’s address book and filtering out and deleting junk to create a more pleasant email experience for everyone involved.
11, Create a Playbill
Scammers that call you on the phone count on you being polite and surprised. It’s easy to fall for a phone scam if the caller claims to have urgent information about your auto warranty or your tax due.
Nofziger suggests writing up a little script to have by the phone for times like this.
I don’t conduct business over the phone,” “I know very well that you are a scam because you’re asking me for a gift card,” and “I have to check this out with my son, who is a police officer, first” are all intelligent places to start, she says.
Numerous victims I’ve spoken to have told me, “You know, I was just caught off guard when they called me or came to the door, and I didn’t know what to say.”
12, Watch Out for Unexpected Shifts.
Assistant professor of the University of Central Florida and head of the Adult Development and Decision Lab, Nichole Lighthall, says that people are aware that they should be cautious about contacting strangers via the phone or the internet.
However, interpersonal scams are even more pervasive and difficult to detect for the elderly. She mentions “relationships of undue influence” as a con that can wipe out a person’s financial security.
At this point, the perpetrator may enter the victim’s life under false pretenses., “And then worms their way into their life to the point where they’re named in their will or listed as a joint account holder,” she says.
They may appear to be in a serious, romantic relationship. Still, the scammer is slowly draining their finances over a long period.
Lighthall cautions that elderly people who are isolated after losing a spouse or other trusted companion are particularly vulnerable to this scam.
If your loved one suddenly starts making decisions that seem out of character, starts spending a lot of time with a new person (often, stops paying their bills on time, starts looking unkempt, and seems to have less control over their own life, you may be concerned about undue influence.
Frequent contact is the most vigorous defense against confidence tricks like those perpetrated over the phone or in person. Discuss the ever-changing nature of email and phone scams and the usefulness of resources like the AARP Scam Hotline.
Get to know the individuals your loved ones care about by connecting with them. Set up a method of video chatting if you live too far away to visit in person.
Lighthall suggests paying a visit to a loved one, being physically present, checking in with them, phoning them, and generally inserting yourself into their life as a buffer, an overseer, or even simply a companion to alleviate some of the loneliness they may be feeling.
Safeguard Your Loved Ones: Know the Warning Signs.
Additional warning indications that an older adult you know or care about may be a victim of financial abuse are as follows.
- Recent changes to the account have been out of the ordinary, such as large withdrawals, the addition of an unknown person, or the unexpected use of a senior’s ATM or credit card.
- The senior all of a sudden seems dishevelled, nervous, and disoriented.
- There is sufficient money, yet vital bills such as utilities, rent, mortgage, healthcare, etc. remain unpaid.
- A caretaker will restrict the senior’s contact with outsiders.
- When people receive many mailings for things like magazine subscriptions, sweepstakes, or “free gifts,” it’s a red flag that they may be on “sucker lists.”
Any information on elder mistreatment, and in most states, of younger persons with severe disabilities, is received and investigated by the state’s Adult Protective Services (APS) programme.
APS can be considered a “911” service for elder abuse cases. It is essential to report any suspicions of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. The journalist’s anonymity will be maintained.
Since APS services are private, the reporter needed to determine how the matter turned out. Independent decision-making and the freedom to pursue one’s own goals into old age are valued by APS.
However, when an older person has cognitive impairment, APS will take precautions to ensure their safety.
What to Do if You Think You’ve Been Scammed
Don’t keep quiet if you suspect fraud; putting it off could worsen things. Immediately:
1, Take immediate action if you suspect a fraud
Here’s what to do if you fall victim to a con.
1, Stop sending payments immediately. Don’t communicate with the scammer in any way.
2,Keep contacts with your financial institution ASAP to report the fraud. Get them to quit doing business with you.
3, Share your knowledge of the fraud with your loved ones, your blood relations, friends and family, and children so they can be on the lookout for any follow-up attempts.
2, If You’ve Sent Money to a Fraudster
Here’s what to do if you’ve already paid a scammer:
- Debit or credit card: You should report to company or bank immediately report this fraud to your bank or credit card company. Get them to quit doing business with you.
- Inform the gift card issuer of this.
- Send a message to the financial institution or wire transfer service you used.
- Don’t complain to the app store about the money transfer app; instead, contact the app’s seller or developer.
- If it happened with cryptocurrency, notify the exchange or company from which you sent the funds. It may be impossible to get back lost cryptocurrency.
- If you’ve sent money by mail or a delivery service, Australia Post or the company you used should be contacted to see if the package may be stopped.
- If a scammer has transferred money from your account without your permission, contact your bank immediately. Request that all financial dealings with you be frozen.
Once a fraudster obtains your information, they can use it to commit identity theft.
For instance, if a data breach has exposed your personal information (name, phone number, email address, physical address, and copies of identity documents). Follow these steps:
- Share this material with your bank and credit card companies promptly in case of a data breach.
- During business hours (M-F, 8-5), you can reach your bank, finencial company, complain office. They can advise on minimising the impact (at no cost to you).
- Make a new, more secure password; don’t use it anywhere else. You should change the password everywhere it has been used since it was compromised.
- Watch for strange communication such as emails, phone calls, texts, and social media communications. Put unknown callers on hold or ignore their messages. Stay away from any and all links.
- Check your bank balance regularly: Always look for suspicious activity in your bank account.
- Be igilant in monitoring your credit report – Protect yourself from identity theft by placing a temporary freeze on your credit report. This will ensure everyone can apply for credit in your name.
3, If a Con Artist has Gained Access to Your Electronic Devices
A con artist poses as an employee of your phone or internet service company. Someone calls you and claims there is a technical issue with your gadget. Then, they plant a virus on your computer to access your personal and financial data. Follow these steps:
- Suppose scammers or any other fraud get access to your computer. In that case, you should scan it for malware and install the latest security patches. If a problem is found, delete it and change your passwords.
- Contact your service provider if you suspect someone has hacked your phone or account. Ensure your antivirus is up to date and do a full system scan. If you’ve fallen victim to a scammer, you must update your security measures immediately.
You might also have an IT expert physically inspect your gadgets.
Be wary of scammers that try to pull a fast one once you’ve
If you fall for the first, you may be the target of a second scam. Put an end to the call or ignore the message if the other person:
- Promises to help you recoup your losses by exchanging your money for something else
- promises a rise in value for your investment shortly; advises you to “hang in there.”
- provides an offer to purchase shares at a premium but requires payment to get any restrictions removed
- Requests money for a phoney stock certificate.
- Offers to help you get your money back by either taking a cut of what they collect or charging you an upfront fee that they call a “tax,” “deposit,” “retainer,” or “refundable insurance bond.”
- Requests that you cover their expenses while you go on a search for the thief who stole your money
These are all tactics con artists employ to separate you from your cash.
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