As we discussed in Part 1 of this blog series, elderly individuals are often the target of complicated scams designed to steal personal and financial information. Some scams are very involved, which makes them easy to believe to be true. The example below is based on a true story about a scam that happened to an elderly woman.
Based On a True Story
Complicated scams involve both calling and hijacking an elderly victim’s personal home computer. The scam plays out like this. The scammers somehow manage to collect the victim’s home telephone number in addition to infecting his or her computer with malicious code. The scammers call the victim, posing as a computer repair service, and tell the victim that the victim’s computer notified them, the repairmen, over the Internet that the computer needs maintenance. The malicious code that was installed on the victim’s computer at some point earlier in time, perhaps downloaded to the victim’s computer by a clicked email link, allows the scammers to remotely control the victim’s computer. This means that the “repairmen” scammers control the mouse icon and can open and close programs and fiddle about in the computer’s internal code, all while the victim is watching on the computer screen. All the while, the scammers tell the victim over the phone about how unsafe the victim’s computer is, and how the victim needs more security installed on their personal computer.
After performing what appears to be a service to the victim, the scammers request payment. The scammers require either a credit card number, including the security code, or a direct electronic payment from a bank. Luckily most elderly people do not use online banking, so the scammers do not often get access to the victim’s personal bank accounts. However, elderly people usually do have credit cards, and they sometimes fall for the scam and pay the scammer repairmen.
Why Do Some Elderly Folk Fall For This Trick?
It’s a simple matter of fear and not knowing that it’s a scam. Elderly people don’t always understand technology fully, and when someone remotely controls their computer, they can get scared. By hijacking the victim’s computer, the scammers build credibility and seem to be telling the truth. Not only that, but the scammers add to the victim’s fear by telling them that the computer has this virus or that virus and that it is not operating in a safe and secure state. Some of the things the scammers tell the victim are complete garbage, founded in no truth whatsoever, but because the scammers say it with conviction, confidence, and know-how, the elderly victim tends to believe them.
Contacting an Elder Abuse Attorney
It is regrettable that someone would take advantage of the elderly this way, and yet it happens all the time. Scamming and financial manipulation of elderly individuals is a form of elder abuse. If you are concerned that your loved one is being financially manipulated, you should contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney today. Contact Rooth Law Firm online or by phone at (800) 598-4348.