Emotional Intelligence to Help Seniors Avoid Scams

We know your lives are hectic which is why we have written an article you are welcomed to post on your website or social media! The topic is about helping seniors prevent from getting scammed by fraudsters – something that cost them $3M in 2021! At SeniorVu, our clients are important to us and seniors are even more important to us. They are why we exist! So we believe educating them about scams and fraud can keep them safer.

To be transparent, the organization mentioned in the article (Fellow Fox) is not affiliated with SeniorVu. We heard about what they were doing so we interviewed them, and we believe what they are doing is worth talking about. If you choose to not use our article, we encourage you to find another one about scammers to share with seniors. Any opportunity to keep them safer is a good one! Click this link to download this free blog post.

The FBI estimates that seniors are scammed out of more than $3 billion each year.  They are targeted because older adults are believed to have a significant amount of savings. However, low-income seniors are often scammed, too. Last year, more than 1 in 10 elderly people in the U.S. fell victim to elder fraud, and that number might be low. The National Council on Aging considers financial fraud to be a type of elder abuse, yet many seniors don’t report it either out of embarrassment or because they don’t know where to turn.

Fraud against seniors can be avoided according to Partha Ray, founder of Fellow Fox, an online security course. In the course, older adults learn an easy 4-step process to go through when a potential scammer reaches out to them, plus, an online community designed for seniors who want to learn how to protect themselves and warn other seniors when they’ve been approached by a scammer.  

“Without you as a willing participant, fraud is very difficult to commit,” states Ray in his introductory video where he shares a personal story about his mother nearly giving away $50-thousand of her hard-earned savings through a telephone scam.

The Scam that Started a Company  Partha’s mom received a call from a man claiming to be with Geek Squad (he was not!), who took control of her computer, found her bank account, passwords and other personal information. While he is charming her over the telephone, he uses her private information to transfer $50,000 from her savings to her checking account unbeknownst to her. Then, claiming to have accidentally refunded her $50,000 instead of $50 he asks her to log into her bank account to verify his claim. Appealing to her empathy, he says he will get fired if the money isn’t transferred back to the company. Now concerned about him, she jumps in an Uber, heading for bank go make the transaction to save this unknown man’s fake job.  Thankfully, this happened on the same day she had workers coming to her home, so in her rush to help the stranger, she calls Partha, her son, to let the workers in the house. Partha quickly unraveled the details and put a stop to the transaction.

Ray goes on to share that his mother worked 37 years for the Federal Government as a geologist. She is educated and intelligent yet, a scammer nearly found a way to ruin her life savings. He didn’t get the $50-thousand but it did cost his mother a week’s worth of headaches, changing all of her credit cards, bank and brokerage accounts, passwords and so on.

For a nominal fee, Fellow Fox shares many resources, tips, and technology tools. It also includes a chat hotline for help and a community group where members can ask questions, share fraudulent activity to look out for, with a running list of emerging scams that are continually updated. 

Here are some of Ray’s Emotional Red Flags he teaches older adults. He says if any stranger makes us feel one of these, beware!

* I feel pressured!

* I feel a connection with this stranger, like they understand me.

* I feel like this person is my friend even though they called me, and I don’t know them.

* I feel the need to perform actions based on what this person is saying even though I don’t know them.

* I feel bad for this person even though I don’t know them.

* I feel like this person is flattering me.

There are several other resources to be found online from senior Foundations, senior organizations, government agencies, and consumer publications about protecting yourself from fraud and financial exploitation.  Regardless of the resource, the only way to truly prevent fraud is by being an educated and alert consumer who doesn’t engage when strangers or give out any personal information.

With more seniors than ever doing business online, there are greater chances for fraudulent mishaps. All older adults need to be educated about fraudulent behaviors. They each need a trusted family member they can safely turn to for questions and help when needed. Talk to your banker about measures they offer to alert any strange activity on your account.

Should something fraudulent happen online or due to someone’s persuasion over the telephone, report it to the FBI immediately with as many details as possible. Then, set aside any embarrassment and tell your family and friends. Your humility just might save them from falling victim too. 

Happy Holidays

Answering inquiries for your community is what our Family Advocate Managers (FAM team) love doing, even on most holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas Day are the only two days we close up shop. We believe all of our team members deserve time with their families. By the next morning, FAM is right back at it to follow up on any inquiries that may have come in the day before.

What about all those other holidays? Rest assured SeniorVu has your time zone covered from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on each of the following holidays:

Black Friday
Christmas Eve
New Year’s Eve & Day
Martin Luther King Day
President’s Day

Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Veteran’s Day

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