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Malaysians should take heed - Elderly are becoming Frequent Targets of Fraud Scams

Fraud attempts aimed mainly at the elderly are being perpetrated with increasing frequency of late, powered by expertly deployed technologies — robocalls, pop-up computer messages, and "spoofing" with fake caller IDs that make incoming calls seem local.

Most victims who become the targets of fraud scams are due to their naivety. Elderly individuals are the most frequent targets of fraud scams. Fraudsters target the elderly, as they may be lonely, willing to listen and are more trusting than younger individuals. Many fraud schemes against the elderly are performed over the telephone, door-to-door or through advertisements. The elderly are prime targets to schemes attributed to credit cards, sweepstakes or contests, charities, health products, magazines, home improvements, banking or wire transfers.

Fraudsters use different tactics to get the elderly to fall victim to their schemes. They can be friendly, sympathetic and willing to help in some cases or use fear tactics in others. The tactic used is generally dependent upon the type of situation the fraudster finds himself in with the elderly person. 

The most common scams to con the elderly mainly are :

  1. Telephones — Phone scams are the most common scams used against the elderly. Scammers might get seniors to wire or send them money by claiming to be a family member who is in trouble and needs money. 

  2. Investments — Many seniors plan for retirement or manage their savings after they finish working, which makes them more vulnerable to become victims of investment schemes. Fraudsters can take advantage of victims by posing as financial advisors to get access to their some fake investment schemes.

  3. Lotteries — This scheme usually involves contacting elderly victims either by mail or telephone, and informing them that they have won a prize of some sort, but must pay a fee to obtain the prize.

Not only are the above scams becoming common in Malaysia but apparently it is also common in countries like the United States and Europe which are much more advanced. It looks like scammers everywhere shared their 'tricks and scams' across borders or these scammers travelled to other countries to scam their citizens once they have 'exhausted' and 'maximise' their database in a certain country.

It has become an endemic reaching alarming proportions in the United States that authorities in the country are taking proactive and preventive steps to educate and create substantial awareness campaigns to highlight to the elderly the various scams that are being perpetrated by scammers there.

Just like in a virus attack that caused a breach of data or a breakdown in the network system, no matter what measures or awareness campaigns that are carried out, the key link is the human factor. Scammers prey on the weakness and characteristics of human and they will have a field day so long these exist in human beings.


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