The Federal Bureau of Investigation reports scams targeting the elderly are on the rise. The agency says more online attacks target seniors stealing large amounts of money through several schemes. Last year, scammers victimized 92,000 and stole more than $1 billion from hard-working Americans. The Bureau’s latest report shows bogus attacks against the elderly increased by 74% in 2021. The Former Director of the FBI and CIA, William Webster, was the target of a recent elder scam. He shares his experience below.
The FBI says the elderly are often scam targets because they are seen as trusting, polite, have savings, credit, etc. However, many seniors on multifamily properties live on fixed incomes, making them more susceptible. The Bureau says senior scam victims are sometimes less inclined to report a crime because of shame or technological barriers.
Scams: What to Share With Your Residents
Navigate Affordable Housing Partners encourages you to help protect your elderly residents from the rise in scams. Please share the following tips with seniors on your properties.
First, encourage residents to be weary of unsolicited phone calls or mailings.
Second, tell residents to resist any pressure to act quickly. The FBI says scammers use urgency and fear to get immediate results.
Third, never share any personal information, money, jewelry, gift cards, checks, or wire information.
Agents say if something seems suspicious or too good to be true, it is likely a scam. Also, encourage your elderly residents to be careful. If they use technology, tell them to think twice or ask before downloading email attachments.
The FBI says scammers are cunning and creative in obtaining money or information from seniors. The following are the most reported tactics:
Romance – Criminals pose as interested romantic partners on social media or dating websites to capitalize on their elderly victims’ desire to find companions.
Tech Support – Criminals pose as technical support representatives and offer to fix non-existent computer issues. The scammers gain remote access to victims’ devices and sensitive information.
Grandparent – Criminals pose as a relative—usually a child or grandchild—claiming to be in immediate financial need.
Government Impersonation – Criminals pose as government employees and threaten to arrest or prosecute victims unless they agree to provide funds or other payments.
Sweepstakes or Lottery Win– Criminals 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.”
How to Help Your Residents
Also, advise residents to be weary of caregivers and even family members. The FBI says relatives or acquaintances of elderly victims often take advantage of them or get their money. Moreover, the bureau expects the scams to continue increasing throughout the holiday season.
Finally, as property owners and managers, you know the holidays can be tough for some residents. Navigate Affordable Housing Partners encourages you to check on your residents often during the holidays. We spoke with an expert for some helpful ways to discuss the tough subjects like Mental Health with your residents, staff, and even your own!