October may be the season for spookiness, but none of Halloween’s haunts holds a candle to the frightening reality of the latest scams targeting seniors. Older adults have long been the target of scammers, who prey on their perceived vulnerability and loneliness. Yet technology is taking their efforts to a completely new level, making it difficult for even the savviest individual to recognize their deception.
AI and The Grandparent Scam
The grandparent scam has been around for decades. An older adult would receive a call from someone claiming to be a relative demanding immediate financial help for an emergency they were facing. The voice, manner of speaking, and phone number could often give away the caller’s malintent.
Enter AI. Scammers are now able to use technology to clone a person’s voice, using just a snippet of audio pulled from social media such as TikTok or Instagram. The cloning software allows the individual to type whatever text they want the voice to say, and the result is a startlingly authentic replica of the person’s actual voice.
To further compound the difficulty with detecting the scam, calls can now seem to originate from any number the scammer selects.
So a grandparent answers the telephone, recognizes the phone number as that of his grandchild, and hears her frantic voice urgently requesting money to help her in an emergency. How should such a situation be handled?
Tips to Thwart Scams Targeting Seniors
Following these steps can help protect the older adults you love from AI scams:
- Talk about it. Explain the details surrounding the newest AI scams to your older family members so they are aware of what to anticipate. Make sure everyone realizes that simply because caller ID shows a familiar telephone number, it does not mean the call is actually from that number. This applies to personal contacts as well as businesses.
- Agree on a family password. Establish a word that everybody in your family can quickly remember, but which would be hard for someone outside of your circle to guess. If an individual calls claiming to be a family member in crisis, ask for the secret code word.
- Call back. In a real emergency, a family member may not remember the code word. As another method to verify the caller’s identity, always hang up the phone and call the person right back.
- Be cautious about clicking. Scammers may also send an email that appears to be from a genuine source, such as a retail business or bank the person uses regularly. These emails are exceedingly difficult to differentiate from authentic emails from an organization. A good practice is to never click on an emailed link, but to go directly to an organization’s website through a browser.
Report All Scams Immediately
At-Home Care Company Is Here to Help Keep Older Adults Safe From Scams
Home care is a great way to add an extra level of protection and safety for older adults. Our caregivers offer the companionship needed to defend against isolation and loneliness – key factors scammers are looking for in their targets.
Call us at 515-292-2650 or contact us online for more information on how our in-home care in Ames, Nevada, Huxley, and the surrounding areas can help a person you love remain safe while living life to the fullest.