Fight Fraud During Elder Abuse Awareness Month (2024)

Fight Fraud During Elder Abuse Awareness Month

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Date: June 07, 2024

Category:

News; Education; Fraud

Anyone can be a victim of scams and fraud. Unfortunately, seniors tend to be targeted more often than younger age groups. According to the FBI's 2023 Elder Fraud Report, more than 101,000 victims aged 60 and over reported scams and frauds, compared to 18,000 victims under age 20.

That's not all — the same report revealed that seniors also lose more money to scammers than younger folks. In 2023, scams targeting older adults resulted in over $3.4 billion in losses. That's an 11% increase since 2022! On average, victims of elder fraud lost $33,915 to fraud last year.

So, what can you do to protect yourself or the senior loved ones in your life? We have some key tips to keep in mind, no matter your age:

​​Keep Personal Information Private

Scammers can “spoof" phone numbers, email addresses and text messages to pose as trusted sources, like government agencies, well-known companies and financial institutions.

In 2023, “tech support" fraud was the number one type of crime impacting people over60. Scammers will impersonate service reps and convince seniors to grant remote access to their computers, where they can access personal and financial data.

What you can do:

    • Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls, emails or text messages asking you to update or verify your personal or financial information to “secure your account." Legitimate sources won't do this!
    • Never allow someone remote access to your computer unless you initiated the contact with a trusted source.
    • Monitor your accounts for any unusual activity. You can check your accounts anytime, anywhere using Wright-Patt Credit Union's (WPCU​) Mobile and Online Banking.

​Don't Fall for the Fear Factor

Fraudsters want to catch people off-guard and trick them into acting quickly, without thinking things through. They'll use fear tactics and play with people's emotions to get what they want.

When targeting seniors, this can involve:​

    • Urgent pop-ups that say your computer is compromised and needs immediate repair.
    • Threatening messages from the “police," “IRS" or “FBI" claiming the senior is in trouble and needs to act now or they'll be arrested.
    • Frantic calls from a “loved one" in distress asking for money.

What you can do:

    • Slow down. If someone's pressuring you to act quickly, lie to others or keep a secret, it's likely a scam. Take a breath to think it through.
    • When in doubt, don't click, respond or reply. Call the supposed source directly using a verified number to confirm if they were, in fact, trying to reach you.
    • Beware of anyone demanding payment in the form of gift cards, money wire transfers, payment app or cryptocurrency. This is almost always a scam, and the money can be difficult or impossible to recover.​

Always Report Fraud

According to the FBI, older adults are often hesitant to report fraud because they either don't know who to report it to or are too ashamed or afraid to tell someone.

It's important to remember that everyone is at risk for fraud. There's no need to hide it or be embarrassed. The sooner you report a scam, the better chance you have of recovering lost funds and securing your account against further fraud.

If you, or a senior in your life, is a victim of fraud, take steps to report it:

    • ​Call the WPCU Member Help Center immediately at (800) 762-0047 for help securing your account(s).
    • File a police report with local law enforcement.
    • Contact the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 833–372–8311. You can also file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at FTC.gov or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.​

As your caring financial partner, WPCU is always ready to help you take action after fraud or identity theft! For more fraud protection tips, helpful videos and information about the latest scams, please visit our Fraud Prevention page.

Fight Fraud During Elder Abuse Awareness Month (2024)
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