Why is it that fraudsters and identify thieves target the elderly? The schemes seem to prey on their vulnerabilities in the hope they are less informed.
In the latest scheme to resurface in our area, fraudsters call seniors pretending to be a grandchild who has been traveling and was injured in an accident. The caller asks the potential victim to send them money to repair their car and help bring them back home.
In one recent case the targeted senior started to ask questions and the fraudster hung up. Then a second person in our area reported a similar call. Fortunately for the two potential victims no money was sent, but commonly it isn’t until the scheme hits the local papers and news that other victims who actually fell prey and sent money learn they have been defrauded.
What can you do?
If you receive such a call, do not provide the caller any of your financial information or your credit card information, and do not send them any money.
Ask the caller for details about your family they should know. Ask the caller to provide you with a phone number where you can call them right back. If they provide it, hang up. Then you can call the number back. Most often the fraudulent caller will not provide a number and simply hang up.
If they actually provide you with a number, try and verify the caller is in fact your relative. Before calling the person back, try and reach another relative to verify the information. If the caller states they are a grandchild, for example, call your son or daughter to see if the information is valid.
More than likely you will find it is someone targeting you.