Stay Scam-Free: Best Ways to Avoid and Resolve Online Scamming

Scamming seniors is a widespread problem and “business” in the UK. 

Scams that begin on the Internet are growing more common among this demographic as well, especially as Internet-savvy people get older. During the coronavirus epidemic, online fraud nearly quadrupled, with more than £750 million lost to fraudsters in the first half of 2021. In fact, an elder in England and Wales becomes a victim of fraud every 40 seconds, according to a new Age UK report. 

Far too many elderly people fall victim to scams, but it’s not their fault. This population is largely trustworthy and made up of financially fruitful people whose cognition may have decreased due to varying ailments. 

Unfortunately, this continues to be considered a low-priority crime, a criminal without a victim, or a crime that does not produce the harm recognised in other categories of crime. 

What are the types of scams?

A scam is a term used to describe any fraudulent business or scheme that takes money or other goods from an unsuspecting person. With the technology available, scammers can get hold of personal and financial information in numerous ways and scenarios. 

These can include the following tactics:

Romance scams. The majority of these frauds take place online. The trickster begins to create rapport with you through social media or dating apps, providing false facts about themselves and asking questions about your life. To gain your trust, they’ll claim to share common interests with you. They will seek cash assistance at some point throughout your conversations.

Grandparent scams. This is accomplished through a one-on-one approach. Scammers impersonate your grandkids or other family members. They contact their targets and request financial aid to help them get out of difficult situations, such as legal issues. These fraudsters do background checks on their victims so that they may utilise family names and personal information to gain your trust.

Fake prize scams. Scammers may call you claiming to have won a reward in a contest or lottery. They’ll tell you that you need to submit personal information or send money to cover the expense of “shipping,” and they’ll even send you a bogus check and ask you to return the money back. 

Tech support fraud. Phone calls, emails, text messages, and online pop-up windows are the frequent communication platforms by tech support fraudsters. They’ll tell you your computer has a security flaw, and they’ll offer to help you repair it. They’ll next want personal information, cash, or remote access to your device.

Government impersonation schemes. Some pretend as representatives of government bodies. They contact you by phone, email, or text message, claiming that you owe the government money or that you must provide personal information. To drive you to take urgent action, these scammers may shamelessly threaten you with penalties or jail time.

Home repair fraud. These people visit your house or call to provide repair services, such as installing new windows or renovating your bathroom. They may demand upfront payment or try to get you to sign a loan that is part of the programme. They leave without completing any work after they’ve received pay.

Investment scams. Some fraudsters offer to help you make money through real estate investment seminars and coaching programs. Their typical pitch is that you can make a fortune by using their “proven” and “risk-free” strategies. They might even use fake testimonials and reviews to earn your trust. Of course, their phoney offers will require you to make some kind of investment.

Caregiver financial elder fraud. Not all swindlers are strangers. Sometimes trusted family members or caregivers find ways to financially exploit older individuals. These might involve anything from taking cash directly from your purse to asking you for money to cover fictional expenses.

What should I do to prevent it?

Here are the most simple, yet effective steps to protect your elderly parent from being scammed, and to empower them to protect themselves.

For Online Scams:

Avoid downloads. Don’t click on suspicious links or attachments shown through e-mail or sites you visit. Tell your parents not to open attachments from persons they don’t know, and to be cautious about attachments forwarded to them.

Share no information. If they are unfamiliar with the firm or the reason for the request, tell them not to give up their personal information. If you’re not sure if an online message is actually from a business, such as a bank, consider calling their official number or visiting a local branch.

Protect the computer. Make sure your parents’ computer anti-virus, security, and malware software are up to date and from trusted suppliers.

Check domain names closely. Scammers may use website names that are slightly different from genuine sites.

Close the pop-ups. If your parents get a troubling pop-up or their screen freezes up, have them unplug from the internet and shut off their computer or phone. Malicious malware can be distributed via pop-ups. Block pop-up windows.

Keep an eye out for emails. Scammers imitate well-known firms, but they frequently misspell terms or use odd grammar. If you’re not sure about an email, don’t click the “unsubscribe” link because it can merely confirm to the fraudster that they have a working email account. 

Turn your privacy on. Consider making your social media accounts private, so only friends can see your information. If your accounts are public, avoid posting personal information.

For Phone Scams:

Take your time. If someone pressures you to make a sudden payment over the phone, tell them you need time to think about it and will respond later.

Call others to confirm. If the potential scammer is claiming to be a family member, get in contact with other relatives or close friends. They can help you verify whether the story is true.

The ID is deceiving. Don’t assume the caller ID is correct. Some scammers can spoof real numbers to deceive you.