An older man talks on his cell phone. Learning how to prevent fraud against older loved ones is crucial with today’s fast-moving technology.

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 scammers, who prey on their perceived loneliness and vulnerability. Unfortunately, technology is making fraud against older loved ones more difficult for even the savviest individual to detect.

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 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 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 person to type whatever text they want the voice to say, and the result is a startlingly 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 chooses.

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 a crisis. How should such a situation be handled?

Strategies to Thwart a Thief

Following these steps will 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. Make certain everyone understands that simply because caller ID shows a familiar phone number, it doesn’t mean the call is really 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 quickly remember, but which will be difficult 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 genuine emergency, a family member may not recall the code word. As another means to verify the caller’s identity, always hang up the phone and call the person right back.
  • Be cautious about clicking. Scammers might also send an email that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a retail business or bank the person uses regularly. These emails are exceedingly difficult to differentiate from authentic emails from a business. An excellent practice is to never click on an emailed link, but to go directly 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 law enforcement as well as the Federal Trade Commission.

Hearts at Home In-Home Care Is Here to Help Prevent Fraud Against Older Loved Ones

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

Call us at 913-440-4209 or contact us online to learn how our in-home care in Kansas City, Mission Hills, Overland Park, as well as the surrounding areas can help a person you love stay safe while living life to the fullest.