Senior citizens lost nearly $1 billion dollars to internet scams in 2020, according to Atlas VPN Findings. KMVT News took a look at what scams are currently out there targeting seniors, and what they can do to protect themselves.
During the pandemic, many senior citizens in the Magic Valley area dealt with loneliness and isolation, as many senior centers were closed due to COVID-19.
“I think for a lot of them that was their social gathering, and they didn’t have that anymore. They didn’t have all the information senior centers give them, commodity,” said Shawna Wasko contracts manager for the CSI Office on Aging. “Then we had senior centers that opened, and COVID went ramped through them and had top close back down, so it has been an up and down battle with trying to get them open.”
Wasko said those conditions created the perfect storm for senior citizens to be the target of scams, specifically phone scams.
“Seniors will talk to people(they don’t know) who call them on the phone where the younger generation will just hang up on them or will not answer,” said Wasko. “I have tried and tried to tell my dad if you don’t recognize that number don’t answer it, but he does and they end up talking on the phone. Plus they’re lonely.”
Lorae Conklin, who is a senior service specialist at the CSI Office on Aging, said seniors today coming from a very “trusting generation” and don’t expect to be scammed and deceived on the phone. They are also not highly knowledgeable about internet technology and what scams are out there.
Wasko said one of the big issues with scams is many seniors don’t admit when they are scammed.
Continue reading at KMVT 11.