Has your Loved one Been Robbed?
According to the FBI in their Internet Crime Report, seniors age 60 and more were scammed out of $342 million on the Internet in 2017. The Internet Complaint Center of the FBI received 49,523 complaints from seniors in 2017. Overall, the Complaint Center received 301,580 complaints, with total losses that exceeded $1.4 billion.
This is staggering and many of the scammers do not live in the US, and to date there is no kind of international way to police the Internet. Scammers may be from faraway offshore places.
Since many seniors have mobility and orthopedic problems, they like to order things from the Internet that get delivered straight to their homes. Also, many seniors are lonely and living in isolation with family members living far away, so they are vulnerable to scammers that masquerade as long-lost relatives or as romantic suitors.
Top Three Ways Seniors are Scammed
In non-payment situations, goods and services are shipped, but payment that was made by the senior never gets rendered for the goods. In the non-delivery situations, the payment is sent, but the products and/or services are not received.
Personal Data Breach
A leak or spill of personal data gets taken from a secure location to an untrusted location. These breaches may also be a result of a security incident in which an individual’s sensitive, protected, or confidential data is copied, transmitted, viewed, stolen or used by an unauthorized malicious person.
Unsolicited email, text messages and telephone calls that appear to be from a legitimate company that claims to need personal, financial and/or login credentials. Seniors get duped into giving out credit card numbers or bank account information over the phone or by email to these imposters.
The Top Three Types of Crimes with the Highest Reported Loss
Business Email Compromise
A scam targets businesses that work with foreign suppliers and/or businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments.
A perpetrator deceives a victim into believing the perpetrator and the victim have a trusted relationship and this may be family, friendly or romantic. As a result, the victim is persuaded to send money, personal and financial information, or expensive gifts to the perpetrator or to launder money on behalf of the perpetrator. Some variations of this scheme are romance/dating scams or the grandparents scam.
The Grandparents Scam
Someone phones a senior and says something like “Hi Grannie or Grandpa! Guess who!”
The senior then unwittingly guesses a name and then this malicious person says “that’s right” and says they are stranded somewhere and need some emergency money or they may claim to be injured and in a hospital and need to pay a bill. This so-called grandchild also tells the grandparent not to tell their parents who will get angry if they find out the grandchild is asking the grandparent for money.
Some seniors have hearing problems and this can make it more easy for someone to be deceived, but it may also be loneliness that makes a senior so vulnerable to a wicked person pretending to be their grandchild.
To file a complaint with the center, visit its website.
It seems that all you can do is warn your loved ones and try to keep an eye on their Internet activities. Since many of these Internet criminals may be residing in faraway places,