Everything you need to know about older people and scams.

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It’s likely that we have all heard stories about scams. A steady increase of people adopting digital devices and entering the online world has as a result unfortunately also seen a rise in the number of online and phone scams. A lot of these scams specifically target older people, which is why we’ve put together everything you need to know about older people and scams.

Scammers often impersonate government departments or trusted businesses. Often their scams might seem genuine and frightening and they will try to make you feel a sense of threat and urgency. According to Scamwatch, there was over $142 million lost to scams in 2019 and a lot of those figures were made up by Older Australians. This generation were heavily targeted in  scams, with people over 65 losing over $23 million over the course of the year.

With these statistics in mind, it’s important to be wary of common types of scams and tips for avoiding them.

Here are some Common Scams and Frauds:

1. Romance and Dating Scams

If you meet someone on social media and they start requesting money or gifts be wary. Scams of this type are very common. Often the scammer will attempt to convince you to give them money to fix a family or health problem, they might ask you to transfer assets to them.

 

2. Investment Scams

You may be approached via phone call or email by someone claiming to be a stockbroker offering you investment or financial advice. They will generally make promises of huge returns on investment and ask for money urgently.

 

3. Identity Fraud

You may have someone ask you for personal details and need them urgently. These could include your Medicare, Birthday, Middle Name etc. and the person does this in order to use your identity.

4. Unexpected Prize and Lottery Scams

You might be offered a false promise of inheritance or a large sum of money in return for you paying a smaller start-up fee. There are also scams where you will be asked for some money in order for you to claim prize money.

 

5. Phishing

You might be tricked into giving personal details to a scammer. Example of these include your usernames, passwords or your credit card details. And the person usually poses as somebody that you trust which is why it’s concerning. So, if you get a suspicious phone call the best practice is to hang up and call the direct company back. This could be someone claiming to be from a company you trust, or government agency asking you for strange information. This way you can verify if the request was legitimate.

 

Here are Some Handy Tips to Help Detect a Scam:

1. Don’t be pressured into making decisions and take a break. 

Scammers will try to make you feel threatened and like there is a sense of urgency to give your details quickly. If you are being spoken to this way, be wary.

2. Be wary about giving your personal details to people. 

If someone requests your personal details, such as your Medicare Number or Bank Details be wary. Call the number personally to ensure it is the person they say they are.

3. Double check unfamiliar email addresses. 

If you get an email from an unknown source, offering financial advice or opportunities with strange looking links don’t click on the link and delete the email.

4. Keep your money protected and safe.

Be alert if you get requests for money either online or by phone call and even if they look and sound official it’s best to be critical. Whenever someone is asking you for money it’s important to verify that the person is who they say they are.

5. Look out for unknown numbers.

Hang up on suspicious phone calls and call back using the number on the company’s website.

6. Keep your personal passwords safe.

Your personal passwords should never be shared. Sometimes scammers will try and trick you into giving them your personal passwords which will allow them to access your private information. Keep your passwords safe at all times.

7. Check your bank account. 

Keep an eye on your bank account, checking regularly for unfamiliar transactions and that way if something looks out of place you can contact your bank straight away.

 

Remember, if you suspect that someone is scamming you, you can report it. To report a scam, visit the ACCC Scamwatch website.

If you’re a client and have any concerns you’d like to chat to your Care Manager about, click here: https://letsgetcare.com.au/contact-us/