Online Frauds that Senior Citizens Need to Know About

“Congratulations, you just won ₹ 50 lakh”

“There was a problem with your transaction.”

“Warning! Your bank account will be closed today.”

If you have ever received these types of e-mails or messages, it means that scammers have tried to attack you. Most of us are aware about such frauds and therefore we can easily avoid being scammed.

However, it has been observed that senior citizens often fall for such online frauds. Since they have little knowledge about technology and how certain digital platforms work, they eventually become easy targets for online scammers.

So, here are some of the most common online frauds that senior citizens need to know about.

Anti-virus software scam

Most senior citizens spend time surfing the internet or trying to purchase something through online stores. Sometimes, they accidentally click on an unknown link that takes them to a different website.

Here, users are shown fake messages or warnings about their anti-virus software. They are then asked to download some other software that allows the scammers to steal or access personal information.

These fake anti-virus scams are very common and often lead to senior citizens losing important personal and private details.

Phishing scam

This type of scam involves tricking people into entering their personal information such as usernames or passwords. The victim receives congratulatory or warning e-mails that contain links to fake websites.

When people click on this link, they are asked to enter information about their bank account, credit card or other online services. These fake websites are designed to collect all possible information which are then used by the scammers to make unauthorised purchases.

Most of the times, you can identify these “phishing” e-mails through silly grammatical errors. However, the smarter ones might seem to be very convincing as they contain less of these errors.

Lottery scam

Another common type of online fraud is the lottery scam. This is a classic one and has been used by scammers for a long time now. It basically involves a simple message that congratulates you on winning a huge lottery prize.

However, in order to claim the prize you are asked to transfer large sums of money as “processing fees” or “transfer charges”. In this way, the lottery scam tricks vulnerable citizens into giving away their hard-earned money.

Romance scam

This is one of the most unfortunate frauds as scammers try to exploit the loneliness and vulnerability of senior citizens. They target divorced or widowed seniors who are more likely to fall for these frauds.

The scammers try to build a strong relationship with the senior by narrating a sad or sympathetic backstory. Once they gain the victim’s trust, the scammers start requesting for money by implying that they are in urgent need of financial help.

By the time the victims realize this fraud, they have already transferred a huge amount of their savings and are left in an even more vulnerable state.

Tech Support Scam

Similar to the anti-virus software fraud, this tech support scam also involves installing suspicious and harmful software in your computer. Here, you may receive a phone call from scammers claiming to be “Microsoft” or “Apple” representatives.

They offer a free security check and ask you to download a software that provides them with remote access to your computer. Once they gain access, the scammers will then install other dangerous malware and steal all your personal details.

E-wallet scam

One of the most recent scams that has targeted individuals of all age groups is this digital wallet fraud. Most of us use digital wallets like Google Pay, Paytm or PhonePe for our day-to-day transactions.

Scammers have found ways to trick people into sharing their UPI ID or other similar account information. These frauds are very hard to track and have become a serious online threat, especially for senior citizens.

Banking scam

Even though this is not exactly an online scam, but it is one of the most common frauds used by scammers. They call up their victim and pretend to be bank officials asking for verification of their bank account.

They manipulate the victim into disclosing all of his personal details and before he knows it, his savings would have vanished from his account.

As elders are not well-versed with modern technology like online banking and e-wallets, they become easy targets for scammers trying to steal money.

Therefore, they must stay alert and as we say it “Beware of online scams”. Also, here are some useful tips for senior citizens that may help them avoid being scammed.

  • Banks or other financial companies will never ask for your username, password or other bank details
  • Never disclose your personal details like credit card number or UPI pin to anyone
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks for any kind of transactions
  • Do not open e-mails that look suspicious
  • Do not trust an e-mail that asks for your personal information
  • Avoid downloading or opening attachments from unknown sources
  • Always have strong and unique passwords. Include a combination of upper and lower characters along with numbers

Following these simple tips may go a long way in helping you keep your savings safe and secure.