While the majority of us would agree that there is a special kind of evil in a person who is willing to scam the elderly, the sad truth is that plenty of organized fraud attempts are aimed specifically at older people. Since the majority of older folks grew up in a time where it was less likely for a stranger to be someone worthy of fear rather than a future friend, they tend to be a more trusting group. This is what makes them the perfect target for some of these organized phone scams, simply because they will assume that the person on the other end of the phone is being sincere.
When you consider the fact that for the majority of people over the age of seventy, the world that they grew up in is nothing the like the world that we live in now, it is easy to see why they would make good targets. For people in the modern world who know about email scams, phone scams, and every other kind of scam because they are so commonplace, we tend to spot a scam more easily. Older folks simply did not grow up having to be privy to that sort of thing, and it is being used against them. In fact, for most, the mere idea that a person calling should be met with suspicion of aggression is almost insulting or something that they would consider being rude. This is what the phone scammers are counting on.
The general friendliness of the older community makes them into people who love to talk more often than not, and there is nothing that a scammer likes more than someone who actually wants to talk to them. These criminals know that the longer that they keep someone talking, the more information that they can get from them. They also know that the longer you talk with someone, the more their defenses will drop. Establishing trust over the phone is always the end goal for these criminals because it means even if the conversation started with suspicion, they will eventually be able to milk the victim for more information or convince them to hand over money in some way. The elderly, because they were often raised to be polite and open, make perfect targets for these criminals, which is why they are considered preferred victims. These older victims want to do good in the world, so when someone asks for money for a good cause or someone tells them that they need their information to help them, they are more likely to hand it right over.
When it comes to protecting elderly targets from these kinds of scams, it is important to focus on education. Make sure that you discuss the reality of these situations with your older relatives and encourage them to never give information or money to a stranger if they call, no matter how good of an excuse the person has. Older demographics are disproportionally targeted for all kinds of fraud, specifically because they tend to be more trusting than the rest of us. Being a trusting person shouldn’t be a bad thing, but in today’s world it can get even the gentlest soul taken advantage of.
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