You or a Loved One Can be at Risk.
Here are a Few Things to Lookout For.
1 in 6 people 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse.
- World Health Organization
1 in 44 cases of Elder Financial Exploitation are reported to authorities.
- Department of Justice
At Aventa Credit Union, we strive to serve our members, which includes addressing financial topics that might affect them and/or their loved ones. June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month and we believe all members should be on alert for elder abuse, as it's a growing international issue, with many countries experiencing rapid growth within the aging populations demographic. There are many laws created specifically for the protection of older Americans from abuse, which are enforced by various governmental agencies, learn more here.
Not only does the increasing dependence on digital devices contribute to this issue, rates of elder abuse multiplied since the onset of Covid-19. Here's a list of some of the most popular scams against the elderly:
The Grandparent Scam
The scammer poses as your grandchild and claims to have an emergency (accident, robbery, etc.) and immediately requests you to send money. This scam works because an established relationship with emotional ties and trust creates an opportunity to fraudulently receive funds. To avoid this scam, be sure to confirm the identity of the person you are communicating with by verifying details or getting answers to questions that only your loved one would be able to answer.
The Sweetheart Scam
The scam involves developing a romantic relationship to gain trust, then your amore asks for money under false pretenses. This type of scamming resulted in $304,000,000 in loss during 2020, a 50% increase from 2019. You can protect yourself from this scam by limiting the personal information you share with strangers met online via dating sites and apps. Additionally, use caution when engaging in online relationships and be careful when establishing emotional relationships with any person that you cannot confirm their identity and/or location.
The Tech Support Scam
This scenario involves the scammer posing as a technical support representative, who "alerts" you and offers to help you fix an issue relating to a financial account, recent purchase, computer virus, etc. You might be contacted by the scammer via phone, email, website popup, etc. The goal of the scam is to trick you into providing remote access to your computer, while the scammer attempts to "troubleshoot" the issue. Meanwhile, they are gaining access to your accounts or will ask for money to repair the issue. Avoid this scam by refusing to wire money, putting money on a gift card or prepaid card, or using a money transfer app because payments like those are hard to reverse. Also, refuse granting remote access to your personal devices to anyone that you do not know. Instead, reach out to your personal network or contact your device's manufacturer, as they will have the expertise to troubleshoot and fix any issues you encounter.
What Can You do to Protect Loved Ones?
If you have family, friends, and/or neighbors that are elderly, here are three important steps you can take to protect your loved ones:
- Report abuse or suspected abuse to
Adult Protective Services.
- Use the resources below to identify and report elder abuse.
- Stay in touch with those close to you and check in regularly on seniors who may have few friends and family members.
- Fraudsters Scam Grandparents by Posing as Grandchildren, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP.org)
- Sweetheart Scams: How to Avoid Being a Victim, National Council on Aging (NCOA.org)
- Older Adults Hardest Hit By Tech Support Scams, Federal Trade Commission (FTC.gov)
- How to Prevent Elder Abuse and Financial Fraud, AT&T (Cybersecurity.ATT.com)