How Scammers Target Elderly Australians
Australians lose millions of dollars every year to scammers who come up with creative techniques to steal their hard-earned money. In fact, 124,315 scamming incidents were reported during the first half of 2021 that resulted in losses of over $139 million for unsuspecting people across the country.
Unfortunately, members of our seniors community tend to be the major targets of such fraudulent schemes where scam artists plan elaborate schemes to separate them from their savings. If you’re worried about elderly members in your family, you should look out for the following common fraud schemes:
Medication Scams are Real
Australian laws oblige pharmaceutical companies to check the doctor’s prescription when a person attempts to buy medicines. Seniors may need special medication for their health conditions and look for competitive prices online. However, fraudulent websites can make things difficult for them.
Phony websites attract the elderly with discount offers, but send counterfeit drugs when a person places the order. These products may be expired or contain substituted ingredients. As a result, seniors don’t only end up losing their money, but the medicine doesn’t prove effective in improving their health conditions and can in fact compromise their health or risk their lives.
During 2020-21, scammers exploited the fear of the pandemic among seniors by contacting them through phone calls or emails and offering COVID-19 vaccination doses in exchange for a huge fee. Not only Australians, but many seniors overseas also became the targets of such scams.
Lottery Scam Schemes
No matter how cliché it seems, many aged Australians still lose money to lottery scams every year. You may receive a message or phone call from an unknown number, claiming that you won a lottery or won a prize for a competition that you don’t even remember entering.
However, the catch is that they would ask you to transfer a significant amount to a specific bank account as a processing fee for the prize money.
The following are certain red flags that can indicate the scheme isn’t legitimate:
- You don’t remember buying the lottery ticket
- The mentioned bank account is in another country
- You are urged to take quick action or else you’d lose the opportunity
Fake Home Maintenance Services
Many genuine businesses promote their home maintenance services door-to-door, but scam artists may also opt for this method to scam elderly members of our community.
These scammers offer landscaping, roofing, or other services to homeowners and their low rates entice you to give them a try. However, when they finish the task, they may invoice you a bill with hefty hidden charges or bill you for additional work that you never agreed to.
Another form of fraud is that these companies may charge an advance fee and then either run away with your money or provide low-quality service despite promising high quality results.
Identity Theft Scams
Scammers steal the personal information of wealthy seniors and use this information to take out loans in their name or commit other crimes by posing as someone else. They may also deprive you of your savings by stealing your bank account or credit card details.
Aged people are common targets of identity theft scams and fraudsters use different techniques to steal your personal details. For this purpose, they may pose as representatives of a reputable company and pretend to conduct surveys to further improve the quality of their products or services.
When it comes to identity theft fraud, you may get an emergency call from an unknown number, claiming that your bank account is blocked due to suspicious transactions and you can’t access it unless you verify your personal information. Similarly, you may be warned by scammers that your credit card is compromised and ask for personal information to resolve the issue.
Pets are great companions and tend to help seniors overcome feelings of loneliness. With people confined to their homes due to the global pandemic, the adoption of pets has further increased, and scammers have seized this as an opportunity to steal the hard-earned money of Australians, particularly the elderly.
These scams involve the advertising of puppies on sale by local and international websites. Some fraudulent websites publish fake stories about the poor conditions these pets are living in to appeal to the emotional side of unsuspecting buyers. However, you may never hear from them again once you have made a deposit.
A tell-tale warning sign is that these sellers only communicate via emails and insist that you can’t visit them in person. Their discounted rates may seem too good to be true and they specify that the pet can only be delivered by a transporter of their choice. Moreover, they may copy the logo of a trusted company to deceive customers.
Scam artists exploit your love for friends or family members, especially your grandchildren. These impostors contact you late at night and act as your grandchild, frantically claiming that they got into trouble and immediately need money.
They may claim that they got into an accident while travelling abroad, lost money in a robbery, or were arrested. Then they quickly end the call after giving you details about where you need to send a handsome amount of money and even ask you not to share the news with their parents.
No matter how urgent it seems, never send money to an unknown account right away. It takes a few minutes to confirm it was actually your family member by contacting the said person on their actual cell phone number.
Betting Syndicate Scams
Sports betting is an extremely popular activity in the country with at least half a million Australians placing bets on sports through online betting sites.
However, fraudsters may exploit your hobby and convince you to join their betting syndicate for better chances of winning. They ask interested people for a hefty entry fee and large monthly deposits. Although they claim that the amount is being spent on placing profitable bets, they may run away with your money soon after.
How a Private Investigator Can Assist with Fraud Investigation
Do you want to know whether the call you received about winning a lottery was genuine? Or do you want to learn about the background of a home maintenance company before acquiring its services? What about investigating the authenticity of a betting syndicate before you join them? Precise Investigation is here to help!
A PI can investigate financial elder scams to protect you or your loved ones from such schemes. It’s common for people to refrain from reporting a fraud incident because they’re either unaware of how to report a scam or they are too ashamed for trusting a scammer. However, you can trust our professional investigators to carry out a detailed investigation with confidentiality and we can help you collect evidence through which you can take appropriate action.
Do you think you or your loved ones are at the risk of losing money to a scammer? Then our background check services can help you expose a potential crime or obtain evidence following financial fraud.