When you hear stories of elderly scams, they can make you cringe. You’ll feel this sudden urge to call your mom or dad. You may find it hard to believe that some people are willing to stoop so low, but there are. There are some unscrupulous people out there who’ve made a career out of preying on the vulnerable, and elderly individuals are among their favorite targets.

Online scams are quite common. According to Statista, Americans lost a record amount of $547 million due to online scammers in 2021. The good thing is there are ways to tell if your elderly parent is being scammed. Here are a few to watch out for.

1. Dating Site Scams

Even for seniors, online dating has become the standard. Con artists know this and don’t hesitate to exploit widows. These romance fraudsters make seemingly elaborate phony accounts on dating sites and social media, which they use to make seniors trust them.

The scammers will frequently pose as a love interest who’s overseas and needs money for Visa or for a medical emergency. They use the promise to meet once they’re healthy enough medically. They intend to be around for a while, so they spend months establishing trust.

2. “Urgent” Emails

The word “urgent” in an email is usually a red flag. Scammers who send such emails want to make money quickly. They don’t want you to have the opportunity to review their message because they know there’s a high likelihood you’ll realize it’s a scam. Such emails can come from scammers who pose as professionals from banks, insurance companies, and more.

3. Suspicious Senders

Always check the email sender name when you use an email account you and your elderly parent don’t recognize. If you see something like a symbol or number added to a seemingly realistic domain, something’s up. Legitimate Gmail addresses never include an added number.

Only 50.8% of 1,540 adults who need contact lenses actually wear them, according to a Science Direct poll. If your elderly parent uses lenses instead of glasses, ensure they’re always wearing them. Doing so will help them spot such small details.

4. Emails With Spelling Mistakes

Scammers may not proofread their emails for spelling issues since they make money by casting a broad net. The initial letter of the sender’s first name is frequently not capitalized. For instance, you could come upon an email from “daniel Horn.” The email is a dead giveaway that it is a fraud if the firm name is misspelled or the recipient’s name isn’t capitalized.

5. Gift Card Scams

The most typical method fraudsters use to get money from their unsuspecting victims is through gift card scams. Scammers will call your loved one pretending to be someone else, frequently a representative of a reputable business like Target or Amazon or a government body like the IRS, and assert that a debt is owed. Do not accept it! Genuine companies and governmental entities never request gift cards as payment. Every such request is a dead giveaway of fraud.

6. Social Security Scams

One of the most common frauds targeting seniors involves government impostors. The con artist will phone unwary victims and pose as a Social Security representative, threatening to stop benefit payments if your parent doesn’t provide them your personal identity details. They often claim to be representatives of the IRS, alleging unpaid taxes and potential arrest if not settled immediately.

Online scamming is no less of a crime than any other. According to Labovits Law Firm, class B felony theft is when someone takes goods or services worth between $1,000 and $1,500. It is a class A felony theft when something worth over $1,500 is stolen. The best way to ensure your elderly parent doesn’t fall victim to this scam is by knowing how to tell when something is off. Use this read as a guide for telling if your senior family members are targeted by con artists.