October may be the season for spookiness, but none of Halloween’s haunts holds a candle to the frightening reality of the latest senior fraud and scams. Older adults have long been the target of scammers, who prey on their perceived vulnerability and loneliness. Unfortunately, technology is taking their efforts to an entirely new level, making it challenging for even the savviest individual to recognize their deception.
The Grandparent Scam, AI Style
The grandparent scam has been around for decades. An older adult would receive a call from someone claiming to be a family member in need of urgent financial help for a crisis they were facing. The voice, manner of speaking, and phone number could often give away the caller’s malintent.
Enter AI. Scammers are now able to utilize technology to clone a person’s voice, using just a snippet 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 stunningly 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 telephone, recognizes the phone number as that of his grandchild, and hears her frantic voice urgently requesting money to help her in an emergency. How should such a scenario be handled?
Tips to Thwart Senior Fraud and Scams
Following these steps can help protect the older adults you love from AI scams:
- Agree on a family password. Establish a word that everyone in your family can very quickly remember, but which would 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 real emergency, a family member may not remember the code word. As another way 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 latest 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 telephone number, it doesn’t mean the call is truly from that number. This applies to personal contacts as well as businesses.
- Be cautious about clicking. Scammers might also send an email that appears to be from a genuine source, such as a bank or retail business the person uses regularly. These emails can be extremely hard to differentiate from authentic emails from a business. A good 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
Home With You Senior Care Is Here to Keep Older Adults Safe From Scams
Home care is a fantastic way to add an additional degree of protection and safety for older adults. Our caregivers provide the companionship needed to defend against loneliness and isolation—key considerations scammers are seeking in their targets.
Call us at 410-756-0959 or contact us online for more information on how our in-home care in Columbia, Reisterstown, Catonsville, and the surrounding areas can help a person you love remain safe while living life to the fullest.