My elderly parents get scam phone calls, emails, and texts constantly. I worry they are going to fall for one of these since both are kind hearted and trusting. I know they are vulnerable. How do I help them?
Worried about Scams
Dear Worried about Scams,
The Lord detests lying lips (Proverbs 12:22), and so do I! Often, when I am speaking with my 88-year-old Dad on his mobile phone, his landline phone (remember those?) rings in the background. I ask him if he needs to answer it, and usually he says, “No, probably just another scam.” While I am glad to hear him acknowledge that he is aware that he is a target, I wonder if he will always be able to keep up his defense.
The sad reality is that we are all vulnerable to being ripped off, especially during the peak spending season. Billions of dollars are lost in holiday scams every year! Here are some ways to help your parents and yourself identify some common scams and defend against being ripped off.
The FBI lists the most common types or categories of schemes to defraud elders: Romance, Tech support, Grandchild needs money, Government impersonation, Sweepstakes/charity/lottery, Home repair, Family/caregiver, Reverse mortgages. This does not include recent COVID-19 scams or early payment of government stimulus checks!
See the FBI’s information regarding common scams.
Online Shopping Scams
Earlier this month, Trend Micro warned shoppers to beware of holiday online shopping scams. These involve fake shops, phishing, E-skimming, and pop-up ads.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) receives a large number of travel scam reports around the holidays. These are the top five most reported:
The BBB recommends the following guidelines:
Scams Targeting Apple Owners
Apple ID Phishing Scams involve hackers who aim to get Apple IDs and passwords. iPhone users need them to access services for the App Store, Apple Music, iCloud, iMessage, and FaceTime. Common scams ask you to click on a link or call a number for some important-sounding reason. Often, victims react and fail to think logically. An Apple virus warning is one such example. Beware of the following:
Unfortunately, there are endless ways that deceivers can come up with to take advantage of others through fraud. Pray with and for your parents about this concern. Consider sharing this article with them, and discuss areas they need to be more guarded. Ask the Lord for His wisdom and discernment as you seek to help them.
It is the season for giving thanks. Thank you to my wife, Ann, for her careful research, writing, and insights that help me form and improve this article each week. Also, thank you to Elissa, Stephanie, and Melinda for their help with editing and production. Thank you to the Christian Post for publishing this column. And thank you to those who read and share it. I hope you actively and sincerely count your blessings for all that the Lord has given you that money cannot buy.
In this peak spending season, I caution you to be careful with credit card debt, and if you need help reducing it, please consider contacting Christian Credit Counselors. They are a trusted source of help.
This article was originally published on The Christian Post on November 19, 2021.
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