Every year, Hawai‘i residents are swindled out of money through many forms of crime. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that 2.4 billion robocalls made every month. Over 3,500,000 older adults are swindled out of nearly $5 billion in personal savings each year. The average loss is $34,200-plus for every senior who falls victim to a scam. More than $17 million per year are lost to internet crimes (2021) — and cases are expected to rise by 10 percent this year.
Kūpuna are the most vulnerable to online scams due to social isolation during the pandemic. We must stay vigilant, as scammers use more sophisticated ways to steal your personal identity, shame you of your self-worth and steal your life’s legacy. Here are some important tips to avoid becoming a victim…
I recently received a telephone call from my mother. Given that I was in a meeting, I didn’t answer it, but instead let it go to voicemail. Almost immediately, the phone started buzzing again from her same number. Usually, my mom would just leave a message, so this second call was very unusual. I excused myself from the meeting and answered the call. Mom immediately asked, “Scott, are you in jail?”
We’re home, still feeling isolated during the pandemic. The phone rings; a welcomed sound. We look forward to hearing from a family member or friend — a warm voice to spend time with. We answer the phone, and minutes later, our whole life is turned upside down. Does this sound familiar? Too often, unfortunately, many of our kūpuna fall victim to scammers who want their health, financial or other personal information.
Social media is a great way for all of us to keep in touch with family and friends, and our kūpuna are no exception. The use of social media among senior citizens has been a growing trend. However, social media presents some extra risks for older people.
In a sympathy scam, a con artist plays on the victims’ emotions in order to extract money from them. Typically, you see a lot of these scams stemming from a tragedy that is highly publicized.
Work-at-home and make $500 dollars a day, lose 30 lbs. in one week, and the secrets of becoming financially secure for the price of shipping and handling all “risk free.” Hawai‘i’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns against offers that claim a “risk free” trial but takes your payment information up front. Many consumers allege that after providing credit card or banking information that they are bombarded with fees and other charges before the free trial is over.