New and increasingly more sophisticated scams are targeting the elderly, who are hard-pressed to keep up and stay ahead of the latest cons.
“Callers often pose as cash-strapped grandchildren, tax collectors or providers of technical support,” reports Jennifer Levitz, writing for The Wall Street Journal.
What makes the new scams particularly effective is that calls frequently use “spoofed” caller identification, which makes it look like the calls are coming from a particular phone number, like the Internal Revenue Service, a family member, or credit card company.
Seniors are facing what’s called a virtual “onslaught” of calls facilitated by the new phone technology available to scammers.
The Federal Trade Commission has received a record 1.7 million complaints about unwanted calls, including robocalls, in the first four months of 2016 alone.
It’s not just the annoyance factor. Callers impersonate tax and bank officials and family members to defraud unsuspecting seniors.
What you can do: Warn your elder family members about the scams, and let them know that caller ID numbers can be “spoofed” and can’t necessarily be trusted. Many institutions, like the IRS, will never contact you by telephone. If you get a call from a “needy family member” or credit card company, don’t release any personal information, and call them back at a number from your own files that you know to be trustworthy.