Owners' Blog

What Mistakes Are Being Made That Increase Your Mom's Risk of Being Scammed?

By Hilary and Greg Eldridge

In 2017, the FBI calculated the losses from internet crime at being over $1.4 billion. The most common crimes included romance/friendship scams, non-delivery scams, investment scams, and identity theft. Your mom could easily be a victim. Many seniors think they know what to look for, but they end up falling for a scam. Embarrassment often keeps seniors from admitting they've been scammed.

Your mom can take preventative measures. Talk to her about mistakes she can avoid. These three measures are good steps to use when trying to avoid a scam.

Answering Calls From Unknown Numbers

Caller ID is important today. If your mom doesn't have this service, make sure it's added to her VOIP, cell phone plan, or landline service. Most automatically include it, so it may just be a case of setting it up and teaching her how to use it.

When she gets a call from a number that is not recognized, she needs to not answer it. If it is a legitimate call, she needs to remember the caller will leave a message.

There are spoof calls, too, so your mom needs to be aware of how they work. The caller ID will show a number she recognizes. It's the scam caller using software to replicate a local number in hopes of tricking someone into answering. To work around this, you can arrange a system where you text your mom before you call. Or, let the phone ring a specific number of times, hang up, and then call back. Your mom will know it's you and not a spoofer.

Shred Unwanted Mail and Documents

If your mom gets applications for credit cards, she should shred them rather than recycle them. She doesn't want someone using the pre-approval code to apply for the card in her name. She also needs to shred or burn stubs from retirement income, bills she's paid, and old tax forms.

Give Out Limited Information

So many reward programs ask for information that they really don't need. The Marriott breach led to scammers accessing passport numbers, payment methods, passwords, email accounts, dates of birth, and more. There was really no reason for Marriott to have stored some of this information.

If your mom wants to join a rewards program to get a discount, she should limit what information is given. If they insist on things like a credit card number, driver's license or passport number, and such, she should ask customer service if there's a way around having that information stored and still getting the rewards.

Caregivers offer companionship, in addition to help around the home. If your mom needs senior care, you should look into caregivers for her. Rates and services are easily acquired by calling a home care agency.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in Duluth, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.