In Part 1 of this series, we introduced the concept that the most vulnerable people on the internet are our senior population. According to the FBI, elder fraud impacts millions of American seniors every year. Figures from the United Kingdom show similar levels of criminal activity targeting seniors.

Most of the elder fraud schemes are financially driven, targeting those who most likely have a secure and readily available source of income such as retirement accounts, pensions, and other forms of assets. While the seniors of today are much more computer savvy than those of yesteryear, that does not mean they are immune to fraud. One reason for this is that the scammers are becoming better versed in social engineering techniques, taking advantage of people by offering false goods or services.

Sometimes, the fraud is perpetrated through one of the strongest motivators—emotions, particularly, fear. This is the mode used in a very popular scam known as “The Grandparent Scam.” Is there a way to combat this? Yes, there is. But first, in case you are unfamiliar with this particular fraud, let’s review how it works.

The Mechanics of the Fraud

The grandparent scam begins when a parent or grandparent is contacted by someone impersonating the child, or grandchild, stating there is an emergency that requires money to fix. The fraudsters use convincing techniques such as a noisy phone line to obfuscate voice recognition by the victim as well as common social engineering techniques such as urgency or false premises like, “my parents will be so mad if they knew I was asking you for money.”

The victim of the crime is then asked to send money to an account to help the beleaguered child. (One has to wonder if the criminals have updated their tactics to use cryptocurrency. There (Read more...)