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Are your parents being scammed?

March 23, 2017

We live in a cruel world. Don't get me wrong -- it's a truly wonderful world. But there are those out there who are just rotten to the core. They're the ones who are preying on the senior population, counting on them to be vulnerable victims to their scams. It's our job to make sure our elderly parents and grandparents are aware of the common scams out there.



As a large portion of the senior population is engaging on social media (how else will they see pictures of their adorable great-grandchildren) or at least spending time emailing family and friends, they are naturally susceptible to Internet schemes. Add these to the frequent phone scams, and our loved ones are practically sitting ducks.


In the March 2017 issue of AARP Bulletin, Sid Kirchheimer wrote an article called SCAM-SPEAK, a guide to the latest scams targeting seniors. These include:

  • Catfish: Fake online profiles created to intentionally deceive people

  • Ghosting: Stealing the identity of someone who has died in order to open credit accounts, obtain loans, or sign up for utility or medical services

  • Phishing: This involves trickery, usually by email, when a scammer poses as someone you trust in order to get you (or your elderly parent/grandparent) to provide sensitive personal data or credit card account information.

  • Scareware: When an on-screen warning flashes and warns you that you have to buy antivirus protection or download a program to fix your computer, beware! 

  • Smishing: Like phishing, smishing scammers are trying to get info from you via text message, telling you to call a toll-free number.

  • Spear-phishing: Phishing via email, usually from someone you know (but not really).

  • Vishing: Another form of phishing -- and here we thought fishing was simply a relaxing hobby grandpap enjoyed! Vishing (voice phishing) uses recorded phone messages intended to trick you into revealing sensitive information for identity theft.

These are just some of the many ways people are trying to rip-off innocent pe