WENDELL, N.C. — Financial scams targeting older adults are widespread and costly. In 2021, older adults lost $1.7 billion due to fraud according to the FBI.
On Tuesday, local advocates visited the East Wake Senior Center in Wendell to teach a session on the most common scams and how to avoid them.
They says that scammers use new technology – that makes it hard to determine what is fake and what is legitimate – to prey on victims of any age, but older adults who are not as adept at that tech are more likely to be fooled.
Some of the most common scams involve rental assistance, Amazon, gift cards and money apps.
One volunteer at the senior center told WRAL News that she was contacted online and told she owed $1,500. She was tricked because of how sophisticated the message looked.
“The way publishing and online has developed, they can re-create so many things, and it looks so real,” said Judy Howell. “It’s important to identify, like with Social Security, to know that they never send an email.”
Howell paid that claim through PayPal, so she was able to get her money back once she figured out it was a scam.
The CEO of Truist Bank told attendees that his mom was almost a scam victim, but she called him before sending any money.
That was the big message at the senior center: Pause before sending any money. Scrutinize requests, no matter the source, and reach out to a trusted friend, a family member or a financial planner for advice.