October may be the season for spookiness, but none of Halloween’s haunts holds a candle to the frightening reality of the latest senior scams. Older adults have long been the target of imposter scams that prey on their perceived vulnerability and loneliness. Yet technology is taking these scams to a completely new level, making it difficult for even the savviest person 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 a person claiming to be a relative in need of urgent financial help for a crisis they were facing. The voice, manner of speaking, and phone 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 YouTube. The cloning software allows the individual to type whatever text they want the voice to say, and the end result is a stunningly 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 chooses.
So, a grandparent answers the telephone, recognizes the phone number as that of his grandchild, and hears her frantic voice begging for money to help her in a crisis. How should such a situation be handled?
Tips to Thwart a Thief
Following these steps can help protect the older adults you love from AI scams:
- Talk about it. Explain the details surrounding the latest AI scams to your older family members so they are aware of what to anticipate. Be sure everyone understands that simply because caller ID shows a familiar phone number, it doesn’t mean the call is in fact from that number. This pertains to personal contacts as well as businesses.
- Agree on a family password. Select a word that everyone in your family can very quickly remember, but which would be hard for someone outside of your circle to guess. If a person 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 way to verify the caller’s identity, always hang up the phone and call the person right back.
- Be careful about clicking. Scammers could also send an email that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or retail business the person uses frequently. These emails are exceedingly hard to differentiate from authentic emails from an organization. An excellent practice is to never click on an emailed link, but to go straight 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, get in touch with the police along with the Federal Trade Commission.
Abby Senior Care Is Here to Help Keep Older Adults Safe From Imposter Scams
Home care is a fantastic way to add an extra degree of protection and safety for older adults. Our caregivers provide the companionship needed to defend against loneliness and isolation—key factors scammers are seeking in their targets.
Give us a call at 303-699-8840 or contact us online to learn how our in-home care in Denver, Aurora, Littleton, and the surrounding areas can help a person you love stay safe while living life to the fullest.