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Silver Scams: Safeguarding Seniors from Sneaky Schemes

by | Nov 20, 2023 | Digital & Technology, Services

Seniors are often targeted through phishing emails or phone calls that claim to be from legitimate organizations such as banks or government agencies. These scams often request personal information such as NRIC numbers or bank account details, which can be used for identity theft or financial fraud. Seniors and their loved ones need to stay informed about these common scams and protect themselves, such as being cautious when sharing personal information online and verifying the authenticity of any requests before taking action.

When receiving a phone call, it’s crucial to exercise caution. These calls often originate from Singapore, where phishing attempts are made. They may pose as a bank or government agency representative, attempting to obtain personal information or request financial transactions under pretenses. 

Note that credit card companies do not record voice calls. This measure is in place to prioritize customer privacy and protect sensitive information discussed during a phone conversation. If you encounter any problems requiring help with your card or bank account, contact the relevant customer support team by directly calling the credit card company.


Online scams 

Most online scams aim to steal individuals’ personal information, money, or both. Scammers employ various methods to achieve this. In Singapore, love scams are prevalent, where scammers establish false friendships with their targets online. Over time, they exploit this trust to request financial assistance or present investment opportunities. Additionally, deception tactics involve tricking individuals into divulging their personal information, such as login credentials, on phishing sites that closely resemble trusted platforms. There are also schemes promising easy returns and fraudulent job postings that entice targets to provide their information.


Explaining scams to seniors

When your grandparents are present, and you receive a suspicious text or call, use it to discuss it with them and see if they can identify whether it is genuine. Another idea is to have your grandparents pretend to be scammers and brainstorm with them about the typical tactics scammers use to steal information or money. Talking to your grandparents about some of these strategies while being careful not to completely discourage them from using the Internet. Additionally, you can guide them through unfamiliar or confusing apps or processes during leisure or family gatherings, which would only require a few minutes of their time.


Non-existent Charges

Suppose your grandparents inform you that they have received a message asking them to pay a fee. In that case, young adults must approach the situation with an open mind, collaborate with their grandparents, and respond accordingly. Educate your grandparents about the various scams, schemes, and false information found online by discussing signs that indicate it is not a legitimate request and what they should be cautious of. 


Download Apps

The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) has introduced a mobile app called ScamShield, which is available on iOS and Android. This app utilizes artificial intelligence to identify and filter out scam messages and block calls from phone numbers associated with previous scam cases or reported by ScamShield users. These features effectively minimize the chances of scammers contacting potential victims. 


Phishing Scams

Phishing scams may pose a challenge for young adults in identifying them due to their resemblance to the original websites. What are some indicators on the website that older adults can watch out for if they accidentally click on these links? Users should always pause and refrain from clicking on uncertain links, as scammers often make their links appear very similar to the legitimate site. Users can start by examining the URL bars to identify suspicious links. To avoid phishing, verify the links and go the extra mile by checking the site’s safety status through Google’s Safe Browsing site.


Government Scams

Government imposter scams involve deceiving senior citizens by pretending to be officials from reputable government agencies such as Medisave, the IRS, or the Ministry of Health. These fraudsters may manipulate caller ID to appear authentic, and during the call, they might even recite your NRIC to make their claims seem more credible.

Medisave scams involve individuals pretending to be Medisave representatives who contact unsuspecting victims to veriMedisave numbers. If you comply, they will exploit this information to steal your health benefits through medical identity theft. 


E-commerce scams

E-commerce scams in Singapore, like in any other country, are unfortunately prevalent. Scammers often take advantage of the convenience and anonymity provided by online platforms to deceive unsuspecting buyers or sellers. Some common e-commerce scams in Singapore include non-delivery of goods, fake websites or listings, and phishing scams.

To protect yourself from falling victim to e-commerce scams, it is important to exercise caution and follow some preventive measures. Firstly, always verify the seller’s or website’s legitimacy before purchasing. Look for reviews or feedback from previous customers and check if the website has secure payment options. Secondly, be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. A product sold at a meager price or with unrealistic promises is likely a scam. Lastly, never share personal or financial information through unsecured channels or respond to suspicious emails asking for such details.

Suppose you become a victim of an e-commerce scam in Singapore. In that case, it is crucial to report the incident immediately to the relevant authorities, such as the Singapore Police Force’s Anti-Scam Helpline. 


Delivery scams

Delivery scams in Singapore are, unfortunately, becoming more common. These scams typically involve individuals posing as delivery personnel or companies and attempting to deceive unsuspecting victims into providing personal information or making payments for non-existent packages. These scammers often use tactics such as sending fake delivery notifications, claiming that the recipient needs to pay additional fees, or even impersonating well-known delivery services like Sing Post.

To protect yourself from falling victim to these scams, it is important to be vigilant and cautious when receiving any unexpected delivery notifications. Always verify the message’s legitimacy by contacting the supposed delivery company using their official contact information. Additionally, only provide personal information or make payments if you are certain of the authenticity of the request. 

Unfortunately, scams are on the rise in Singapore. Awareness of these fraudulent schemes and taking necessary precautions can help safeguard oneself from becoming a victim. Stay informed, stay cautious, and always verify before taking any action when dealing with unexpected deliveries or requests for payment.

About Growing Needs

About Growing Needs

Growing Needs grew out of our own encounters with caring for our aging parents and reflecting on the Growing Needs that we ourselves would face as we advance in years. We hope to build a community that will learn, share and contribute towards caring for the growing needs of our loved ones.

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