By Puyallup Tribal News Staff
Every year, many Elders fall victim to some form of fraud or scam.
They have even made a television genre out of it. Scams have created new definitions for common words. For example, catfish, once a fish in a lake, is now a term for luring (someone) into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona, according to Oxford dictionary.
With everything accessible from your smartphone, nowadays, more and more scams are being done to prey on people and get access to sensitive information, such as bank accounts, passwords, social security numbers and social media accounts.
Elders often fall victim to scams because they tend to be nice, polite, and trusting. They also might own property or have significant savings, making them especially vulnerable.
Below are some tips on how specific scams are making their rounds. Please make sure your Elders are aware by going over the list with them to help prevent these kinds of scams from happening in the first place.
Common fraud schemes that target Elders:
Romance scam: Criminals pose as interested romantic partners on social media or dating websites to capitalize on their elderly victims’ desire to find companions.
Tech support scam: Criminals pose as technology support representatives and offer to fix non-existent computer issues. The scammers gain remote access to victims’ devices and sensitive information.
Grandparent scam: Criminals pose as a relative—usually a child or grandchild—claiming to be in immediate financial need.
Government impersonation scam: Criminals pose as government employees and threaten to arrest or prosecute victims unless they agree to provide funds or other payments.
Sweepstakes/charity/lottery scam: Criminals claim to work for legitimate charitable organizations to gain victims’ trust. Or they claim their targets have won a foreign lottery or sweepstake, which they can collect for a “fee.”
Home repair scam: Criminals appear in person and charge homeowners in advance for home improvement services that they never provide.
TV/radio scam: Criminals target potential victims using illegitimate advertisements about legitimate services, such as reverse mortgages or credit repair.
Family/caregiver scam: Relatives or acquaintances of the elderly victims take advantage of them or otherwise get their money.
How to report a scam
If you have reason to believe that you or someone you know has been a victim of what appears to be a scam, please contact your local police department or Tribal Police.