Cellular phones and access to the internet has drastically changed the lives of people across the world. For the first time in history, humans can communicate with each other and access answers to questions instantly, from pretty much anywhere. The benefits are vast and incredible. At the same time, while older adults are using the internet and smartphones more frequently, there are risks.
Internet and phone scams have become a growing issue as technology has evolved and become more advanced. Scammers use internet software to take advantage of people by using fraud schemes that trick people into giving them money. In 2018, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center received 351,936 complaints of internet and phone crimes, accounting for more than 2.7 billion dollars in losses. Of all scam victims, seniors are targeted more than any other age group because they tend to have more time and willingness to listen. They are also often more sympathetic and trusting than younger generations.
Scammers use various tactics, such as acting friendly, helpful, or sympathetic, to get people to fall for their schemes. In some cases, scammers inflict fear on their victims to scare them into paying them. Scammers are aware that many older adults have a lot of money in their savings accounts after retirement. They are also considered low-risk targets because these scams often go unnoticed and unreported due to the lack of technical knowledge.
The best way to avoid internet and phone scams is to be aware of common scams, including the top ten scams targeting seniors, found by the National Council on Aging (NCOA). It is then easier to identify and avoid falling for these scams: