October is 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 vulnerability and loneliness. Unfortunately, technology is making scams against the elderly more difficult than ever to uncover, even for the savviest individual.
The Grandparent Scam, AI Style
The grandparent scam is nothing new. An older adult would receive a call from a person claiming to be a family member demanding urgent financial help for an emergency they were facing. The voice, manner of speaking, and telephone number could often give away the caller’s malintent.
Enter AI. Scammers can now utilize technology to clone a person’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 outcome is a startlingly authentic replica of the person’s actual voice.
To further compound the difficulty with detecting the scam, calls can now appear to originate from any number the scammer selects.
So a grandparent answers the phone, recognizes the phone number as that of his granddaughter, and hears her frantic voice begging for money to help her in a crisis. How should such a scenario be handled?
Tips to Thwart Scams Against the Elderly
Following these steps can help protect the older adults you love from AI scams:
- Talk about it. Explain the details surrounding the latest AI scams to your older family members so they are aware of what to anticipate. Make sure everyone realizes that just because caller ID shows a familiar phone number, it doesn’t mean the call is really from that number. This applies to personal contacts as well as businesses.
- Agree on a family password. Establish a word that everyone in your family can quickly remember, but which will be hard for someone outside of your circle to guess. If an individual 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 way to verify the caller’s identity, always hang up and call the person right back.
- Be careful about clicking. Scammers could also send an email that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or retail business the person uses frequently. These emails can be extremely hard to differentiate from authentic emails from an organization. An excellent practice is to never click on an emailed link, but to go directly to an organization’s website through a browser.
Report All Scams Immediately
Morning Glory Home Care Is Here to Keep Older Adults Safe From Scams
Home care is a great way to add an extra level of safety and protection for older adults. Our caregivers offer the companionship needed to safeguard against isolation and loneliness—key elements scammers are wanting to identify in their targets.
Call us at 618-667-8400 or contact us online for more information regarding how our in-home care in Edwardsville, Alton, Belleville, and the surrounding areas can help someone you love remain secure and safe while living life to the fullest.