In a 2012 nationally representative survey of over 2,000 adults age 40 and older, those age 65 and older were more likely to be targeted by offenders and more likely to lose money once targeted. Upon being solicited for fraud, older respondents were 34 percent more likely to lose money than respondents in their forties.
Those who were scammed were also more likely to be victimized if they did not have anyone to discuss the offer with. Single, divorced, and widowed respondents were more likely to indicate that they did not have anyone to discuss things compared to married respondents and those living with a partner. Those who engaged with a scammer, in general and those who eventually also lost money expressed significantly higher feelings of loneliness. Specifically, losing money was associated with more frequent feelings of being left out, lacking companionship, and being isolated from others.
Keeping some of these tips in mind when you get a strange email, text message or phone call will help protect you from scammers.
- Do not give out any financial information about yourself to strangers or even neighbors.
- Never give out account information or credit card information in response to an unsolicited phone-call or message.
- Check your bank accounts regularly and watch out for any suspicious transaction or any activity that you are not familiar with.
- Review your credit reports on a regular basis for any errors or accounts that you do not recognize.
And the most important tip of all, you are allowed to hang up the phone on telemarketers or anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable. Don’t let your manners block you from keeping yourself safe!