LOUISIANA (KLFY) — The FBI receives thousands of complaints about scams throughout the year, but the most common involve senior citizens.
News 10 spoke with Chris Babin from the Better Business Bureau to find out why.
“We know elderly people are targeted; they’re targeted with unique scams. A lot of emotional, more tug at the heart string type scams; grandchildren being in trouble or potentially government programs like Medicare,” Babin said.” Things that can get very confusing. Scammers pretend to be someone that’s going to help them when in the end they just want to steal their money or personal information.”
According to the FBI, total losses from elderly victims reached over 3 billion dollars across the country in 2022, an 84% increase from the previous year.
The most common tactic used by scammers to get personal information pretending to be customer support from technology companies, banks, or healthcare providers.
Other tactics include sweepstakes winners, investment scams, and fake romances.
Babin said senior citizens are easier targets due to the rapid evolution of technology.
“There’s all these things they’re having to learn with the increase in technology as they get older, and with that it leaves them open to potentially being targeted by scammers,” Babin said. “And a lot of older adults have decent credit and the availability to have funds. The increase in technology give the scammers a lot more tools and resources to take advantage of us and be more misleading.”
Babin said the most common ways scammers look to reach the elderly is through emails with easy to click links, and through phone calls so they can use their voice to convey emotion and gain the sympathy of their victim to receive money.
As the number of scammers continue to grow, Babin said the key to preventing a loved one from falling victim to these schemes is simply communication.
“If you’re taking care of an elderly person or you work with them, spend some time talking to them about phone calls,” Babin said. “Any time somebody is experiencing something that sounds weird or maybe makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, encourage them to talk to you about it. Talk it out and have those conversations, because a lot of times just doing that will help us realize that we’re potentially in a vulnerable situation.”
Anyone who falls victim to these schemes is advised to file the complaint with the FBI and reach out to the Better Business Bureau to take the steps towards recovering.