A man is cautious when speaking on the phone because he knows the risks of elder fraud.

October is the season for spookiness, but none of Halloween’s haunts can hold a candle to the frightening reality of the latest senior scams and elder fraud incidents. 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 whole new level, making it challenging for even the savviest person to recognize their deception.

AI and The Grandparent Scam

The grandparent scam is nothing new. An older adult would receive a call from a person claiming to be a family member demanding immediate financial help for a crisis they were facing. The voice, manner of speaking, and telephone number could often give away the caller’s malintent.

Enter AI. Scammers can now utilize 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 stunningly accurate replica of the person’s actual voice.

To further compound the difficulty with detecting the scam, calls can now appear to come from any number the scammer selects.

So a grandparent answers the telephone, recognizes the phone number as that of his granddaughter, and hears her frantic voice begging for money to help her in an emergency. How should such a situation be handled?

How to Thwart Elder Fraud

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 familiar with what to anticipate. Make certain everyone understands that simply because caller ID shows a familiar telephone number, it doesn’t mean the call is actually from that number. This applies to businesses as well as personal contacts.
  • Agree on a family password. Come up with a word that everyone in your family can very quickly remember, but which will be difficult for someone outside of your circle to guess. If someone calls claiming to be a family member in crisis, ask for the secret code word.
  • Call back. In a true emergency, a family member might not remember the code word. As another way 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 legitimate source, such as a bank or retail business the person uses regularly. These emails can be extremely hard to distinguish from authentic emails from a business. A good practice is to never click on an emailed link, but to go right to an organization’s website through a browser.

Immediately Report All Scams

If you or someone you love happens to be targeted by any kind of scam, contact law enforcement as well as the Federal Trade Commission.

Anthem Home Care Is Here to Help Keep Older Adults Safe From Scams

Home care is a great way to add an additional level of protection and safety for older adults. Our caregivers provide the companionship needed to guard against loneliness and isolation—key considerations scammers are looking for in their targets.

Give us a call at 361-643-2323 or contact us online to discover how our in-home care in Aransas Pass, Sinton, Rockport, and the surrounding areas can help a person you love stay safe while living life to the fullest.