October may be the season for spookiness, but none of Halloween’s haunts can hold 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. Yet technology is taking scams against older adults to a completely new level, making it challenging for even the savviest individual to detect their deception.
AI and The Grandparent Scam
The grandparent scam has been around for decades. An older adult would receive a call from a person claiming to be a family member needing immediate financial help for a crisis they were facing. The voice, manner of speaking, and telephone number could often give away the caller’s malintent.
Enter AI. Scammers are now able to utilize technology to clone an individual’s voice, using just a few seconds of audio pulled from social media such as TikTok or YouTube. The cloning software allows the individual to type whatever text they want the voice to say, and the result is a startlingly authentic replica of the person’s actual voice.
To further compound the challenge with detecting the scam, calls can now appear to originate from any number the scammer chooses.
So a grandparent answers the phone, recognizes the phone number as that of his grandchild, and hears her frantic voice begging for money to help her in a crisis. How should such a situation be handled?
Strategies to Thwart Scams Against Older Adults
Following these steps will help protect the older adults you love from AI scams:
- Agree on a family password. Select a word that everyone in your family can easily remember, but which would be hard for someone outside of your circle to guess. If a person 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 method to verify the caller’s identity, always hang up the phone and call the person right back.
- Talk about it. Explain the details surrounding the newest AI scams to your older family members so they are aware of what to anticipate. Be sure everyone understands that simply because caller ID shows a familiar phone number, it does not mean the call is actually from that number. This applies to personal contacts as well as businesses.
- Be cautious about clicking. Scammers may also send an email that appears to be from a genuine source, such as a retail business or bank the person uses frequently. These emails can be extremely hard to differentiate from authentic emails from a business. A smart 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
Absolute Companion Care Is Here to Keep Older Adults Safe From Scams
Home care is a great way to add an additional level of safety and protection from scams against older adults. Our caregivers offer the companionship needed to defend against isolation and loneliness—key elements scammers are seeking in their targets.
Give us a call at 410-357-9640 or contact us online to learn how our in-home care in Timonium, Monkton, Towson, and the surrounding areas can help someone you love remain safe while living life to the fullest.