Scammers are targeting seniors more than everand theyve found a diabolical new scam that has authorities concerned.A new study says that more than half of seniors in a recent survey have encountered a scam and more than a third have fallen victim.Nearly three-quarters said they know other seniors who have been scammed.Thanks in part to modern technology, scams are becoming more commonplace in America every day, the study says.When it comes to falling for scams, senior citizens often fall victim, especially when it comes to internet crimes.Phishing is the most frequent encounter.

Nine out of ten seniors have received an email from a suspicious sender, says the poll by MedicareFAQ.While 83% know how to identify suspicious email links, 44% admit to clicking on suspicious links in the past.Scammers target seniors and their cashAccording to the FBIs Internet Crime Report, there were 101,068 internet crime complaints by Americans 60 and older in 2023 resulting in a $3.4 billion in financial losses.In 2023 the FBIs Internet Complaint Center said it received a record amount of complaints 88,418 with losses exceeding $12.5 billion.Thats a 10% increase in complaints and a 22 percent increases in losses from the previous year, the FBI reports.Top Scams: The Phoney FiveThe top 5 reported scams according to the FBI 2023 Elder Fraud report are personal data breaches, confidence and romance scams, non-payment or non-delivery scams, and investment scams, says Zulfikar Ramzan, Chief Scientist and Executive Vice President, Product and Development atAura, an identity-theft protection service,Ramzan says tech support scams were the most reported kind of elder fraud in 2023.

Almost 18,000 victims aged 60 and over reported such scams, he says.Though not as reported as the tech support scams, investment-related scams were the costliest they increased nearly 40% to $4.5 billion, the FBI says.Stay safe! Join Senior Planets upcoming Webinar on Protecting your Personal Information online on June 17.Registration required; details are here.Emerging ThreatProbably more concerning is new AI technology scams for voice cloning.These scams use a technology known as voice cloning that can replicate the voices of friends or loved ones.

The U.S.Senate Special Committee on Aging has testimonials from people who have been targeted on its website.The FTC says the technology offers promise, including medical assistance for people who may have lost their voices due to accident or illness.It also poses significant risk: families and small businesses can be targeted with fraudulent extortion scams; creative professionals, such as voice artists, can have their voices appropriated in ways that threaten their livelihoods and deceive the public.The FTC has launched an initiative The Voice Cloning Challenge offering cash prizes for developers who submit solutions that can help consumers avoid or detect these voice cloning scams.Want to know more? Senior Planet is currently developing a lecture on disinformation and AI that will include voice impersonators and deepfakes.

Stay tuned! Typical Senior ScamsRamzan says the latest scams targeting seniors exploit their trust, financial stability, and sometimes limited tech knowledge.These scams include schemes like:The grandparent scam, wherein fraudsters pose as authorities claiming a grandchild is in trouble, soliciting large sums of money.Government imposter scams involve impersonating officials to extract sensitive information or payments.False investment schemes promise high returns with low risk, taking advantage of seniors desire for financial security.Robocalls and phishing messages attempt to extract personal or financial details under false pretenses.Sweepstakes and lottery scams falsely inform victims of winnings, demanding upfront fees or personal information to claim prizes.

Elder romance scams involve creating fake personas on dating platforms to establish relationships and request money under false pretenses.Online shopping scams dupe seniors into purchasing fraudulent products or providing financial details on fake websites.Charity scams involve posing as charitable organizations to solicit donations or personal information for illegitimate purposes.Have You been Targeted? Spot the SignsSo, what are some of the warning signs that you are about to be scammed?A good rule of thumb to follow, says Ramzan: If someone is reaching out to you, for any reason trying to help, its likely a scam.For example, if someone reached out to help with slow Wi-Fi, or disconnected internet, but you never made a service call, how would they know you needed help? Scammers usually make hundreds of calls before they successfully find a victim.Avoid giving out any personal information over the phone, through email and text, or to anyone you dont know- especially if you received a random call and were reached out to first.The MedicareFAQ report says there are ways to prevent scams, or at least prevent yourself from falling victim.The main ways seniors protect themselves include ignoring unsolicited or suspicious emails and messages (97%), regularly monitoring their finances (85%), and avoiding sharing personal information online (81%).Also, Ramzan says you should sign up with credit monitoring and identity theft protection services.If you do fall victim to a scam you can contact:The National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11(1-833-372-8311)The Victim Connect Resource Center, (1-855-484-2846)Legal Services CorporationFile a complaint with the FBI Internet Crime Complain CenterYOUR TURNHave you foiled a scam attempt? Share your story in the comments!Rodney A.

Brooksis an award-winning journalist and author.The former Deputy Managing Editor/Money at USA TODAY, his retirement columns appear in U.S.News & World Report and

He has also written for National Geographic, The Washington Post and USA TODAY and has testified before the U.S.Senate Special Committee on Aging.His book, The Rise & Fall of the Freedmans Bank, And Its Lasting Socio-economic Impact on Black America was released in 2024.

He is also author of the book Fixing the Racial Wealth Gap.His website iswww.rodneyabrooks.comYour use of any financial advice is at your sole discretion and and Older Adults Technology Services from AARP makes no claim or promise of any result or success.

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