A PPPD Reminder: Perpetrators Use Various Methods to Deceive and Defraud Elderly Victims For Financial Gain
Each year, millions of elderly Americans fall victim to some type of financial fraud, racking up more than $3 billion in losses annually.
Criminals use a variety of methods to deceive these victims, including romance, sweepstakes, charity, technology support, grandparent, lottery, and government impersonation schemes, to name a few. In each case, perpetrators try to gain their targets’ trust and may communicate with victims via computer, through the mail, in person, and by phone, TV, and radio.
With the elderly population growing in the United States, it is likely perpetrators will find more and more victims. Elderly individuals may encounter the following scams:
Romance Scam: Perpetrators pose as interested romantic partners through dating websites to capitalize on their elderly victims’ desire to find companions.
Tech Support Scam: Perpetrators pose as technology support representatives and offer to fix non-existent computer issues—gaining remote access to victims’ devices and, thus, their sensitive information.
Grandparent Scam: Perpetrators pose as a relative—usually a child or grandchild—claiming to be in immediate dire financial need.
Government Impersonation Scam: Perpetrators pose as government employees and threaten to arrest or prosecute victims unless they agree to provide funds or other payments.
Sweepstakes/Charity/Lottery Scam: Perpetrators 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: Perpetrators appear in person and charge homeowners in advance for home improvement services that they never provide.
TV/Radio Scam: Perpetrators target potential victims using illegitimate advertisements about legitimate services, such as reverse mortgages or credit repair.
Family/Caregiver Scam: Perpetrators are relatives or acquaintances of the elderly victims and take advantage of them to get their money.
Once successful, perpetrators will likely continue to target vulnerable elderly victims with these schemes because of the prospect of significant financial gain. As we always remind residents, trust your instincts and if something doesn't seem don't hesitate to contact us at (708) 671-3770.