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How to talk to older people in your life about scams – The Oakland Press | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans


A page from the National Council on Aging website is shown in this photo taken Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023 in New York. In 2022, consumers lost $8.8 billion to scammers. And older adults lost the highest amount of money compared to other age groups, according to the Federal Trade Commission. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)

By ADRIANA MORGA (Associated Press)

NEW YORK (AP) — This summer, Daniel Goldstein’s 86-year-old mom got an email that looked like it was from her bank. She was alarmed because she hadn’t spent the money it mentioned, so she called a help number on the email. The person on the other end of the line asked for her bank account information and made her believe she would get her money back. Instead, she lost $600 to a scammer.

Last year, consumers of all ages were scammed out of $8.8 billion. And older adults lost the most money compared to other age groups, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

While everyone wants to protect their parents and grandparents from scammers, sometimes these conversations can be complicated to navigate.

“We encourage people to think in multigenerational approaches. Everyone is getting scammed, it’s just a different way that scammers go after you,” said Genevieve Waterman from the National Council on Aging.

From having a lot of empathy to knowing how to report a scam, experts shared their recommendations for talking about scams:

KNOW WHICH SCAMS COMMONLY TARGET OLDER PEOPLE

Knowing which scams are most commonly used to target older people can help.

Two of the most common are the “grandparent” scam and romance scams, said Kathy Stokes, director of fraud prevention at AARP.

The grandparent scam is when someone gets a phone call from a person impersonating a grandchild and asking for money to get them out of trouble. The first step to avoid this is to call other family members before taking any action, the FTC recommends.

When it comes to romance scams, the FTC reported that people lost $1.3 billion in 2022. Scammers usually contact people through social media and then move the conversation to other messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Google Chat.

“A lot of older adults are now going into the online dating world, they’re making a lot of online conversations, having a lot of dates, but that leads them to scammers who are then convincing them to give them money and send it overseas,” Waterman said.

What starts as a simple conversation turns into a sudden romantic connection. But then the person asks for money because something happened in their lives and they need help. According to the FTC, common lies by scammers include “I or someone close to me is sick, hurt, or in jail” and “I can teach you how to invest.”

Other common scams are investment scams, tech support scams, and impersonation scams. You can read more about these on the FTC’s website.

HAVE CONSTANT CONVERSATIONS ABOUT SCAMS

One of the best ways to raise awareness about scams is to talk to each other about them. To keep your older family members safe, Waterman recommends that families talk about scams more often in their day-to-day lives.

“I love the idea of sitting around the table and talking about (scams) and making it more common,” Waterman said.



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