(Picture courtesy of the FBI site)

Ran into an interesting communication from the FBI on the growing problem of senior citizens being targeted by scam artists. Of even greater interest — largely because most senior citizens now use the Internet — a lot of them are being targeted from foreign lands with the click of a mouse.

The FBI reports:

The threat to seniors is growing…and changing. Baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are now the largest segment of our population—about 78 million people. That means that the number of senior citizens is rising. Many younger boomers also have considerable computer skills, so criminals are modifying their targeting techniques—using not only traditional telephone calls and mass mailings but also online scams like phishing and e-mail spamming.

Most experts agree that senior citizens are targeted because many of them have developed solid financial resources over a lifetime of hard work.

I frequently watch spam trends — largely because I consider spam the vehicle for most fraud, phishing and financial misdeeds on the Internet — and I’ve noted a lot of anti-aging and health products of a dubious nature being pitched. To me, this confirms that the spammers and bot-herders are indeed targeting the elderly.

The current press release has a lot of great information on how to spot fraud and avoid becoming a victim.

Instead of copying them for this post, I would recommend reading the press release.

The press release also points to another excellent page on the FBI site dedicated to educating all of us about fraud against our senior citizens.

Last, but not least if someone thinks they are being targeted by a scam, it’s always a good deed to report it. By doing this, it might prevent another human being from a lot of pain and suffering.

Here is the FBI recommendation on how to do this:

Who to call. If you’re a senior citizen who has been victimized by fraud, start by calling your local or state law enforcement agency.

The FBI doesn’t handle isolated individual cases: we get involved only when there are huge dollar losses or if there’s evidence of an international crime ring at work. But you can report fraud online to us through our Internet Crime Complaint Center, which is run in concert with the National White Collar Crime Center, and we’ll refer it to the proper authorities.

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