WE ARE CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING HIGH CALL VOLUME. WE APOLOGIZE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE.

Kirtland FCU branches and the Member Contact Center will be closed Monday, June 20 in observance of Juneteenth.

Welcome To The Insighter!

Explore the latest happenings at Kirtland FCU and learn about important topics from around the financial world. Here’s your insight! To learn about retirements, investments and financial planning, check out Invested now.

Fighting Financial Scams Targeted at Members 60 and Over

By Sky, K-Staff

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center released their 2021 report outlining internet crimes states that New Mexicans have lost nearly $13 million to internet scams! Most of these have targeted people 60 and older, making this age group the most frequently victimized. In New Mexico alone, 671 victims over the age of 60 have reported $5.6 million in losses.

Scammers target this age group in several ways: capitalizing on victims’ lack of technical knowledge; tugging at “heartstrings”; and threatening false legal actions are among the most common and effective. Scammers often pose as a “trusted helper”, impersonating a technical support representative, Social Security agent, or even a loved one. They then target the victims’ finances or possessions.

Tech Support Scams

Tech support scams are among the most lucrative for scammer and tend to get the most visibility. The FBI received nearly 24,000 complaints reporting losses close to $350 million. 60 percent of those victims were over 60 year of age and accounted for 68 percent of losses (almost $240 million).

Scammers pose as tech support representatives and offer to fix a non-existent computer issue. They will request remote access to the target’s computer. Once granted, they have complete access to all information on the computer. In more sophisticated versions of this scam, criminals will have the target log into their bank account while on the phone. The scammer will have the victim complete a series of activities that either move money out of the account or convince the victim to issue “refunds” for payments that seem to be appearing on the screen.

Romance / Confidence Scams

The next most common form of technology scam that tends to target those over 60 is confidence fraud also known as Romance Scams. In 2021, the FBI received more than 24,000 reports totaling $956 million in losses. 32 percent of these victims were over the age of 60.

These scams work by gaining the trust of the victim. The scammers pose as potential romantic partners or as a close friend endearing themselves to the victim. They will seem genuine, caring and believable.

These scammers push to establish the relationship quickly, using promises of meeting in person or even marriage to push the relationship forward. They will often use the excuse of working or traveling outside of the U.S. to make it more plausible to not meet in person.

Eventually, the scammer will begin asking for money, usually under the pretext of a medical emergency, unexpected legal fee, or other unexpected financial burden.

Grandparent Scams

The grandparent scam doesn’t see the large numbers that other forms can. However, it is a particularly heartbreaking version of scams and is most often targeted at older generations.

A scammer will call an older person and say something like, “Hi Grandma, do you recognize my voice?” When the victim guesses the who the scammer sounds like they will begin to as for money to solve an unexpected financial problem and ask the grandparent not to tell anyone.

The scammer will request the funds via money transfer or gift cards, so they don’t require any form of identification to collect the stolen funds. This also makes it nearly impossible to track or recover the funds.

Government Impersonation Scam

Government impostor scams, like the grandparent scam, rely on fear for success. These scammers “spoof” an actual phone number or at least the area code of the agency they claim to be calling from. They often claim to be with the IRS, Social Security Administration, or Medicare.

They will claim that the victim has unpaid taxes, or that Social Security or Medicare benefits are in danger of being suspended if personal information or immediate payment isn’t provided. They will threaten arrest or deportation to add to the immediacy pressuring the victim to pay on the initial interaction.

There are several other common scams that target those over 60. Sweepstakes/charity/lottery scams in these scammers claim to work for a legitimate charity to gain trust while asking for money, or they will claim that the victim has won a lottery or sweepstakes that they can claim for a “fee”. Home repair scams happen when a scammer shows up in person and takes advance payment for repairs or improvements that are never provided. Scammers will also target victims using illegitimate advertisements about services like reverse mortgages, or credit repair.

The FBI offers some tips on how to protect yourself from potential scammers.

  • Learn to recognize scam attempts, begin with learning about the common forms of scams.
  • Search any contact information and the proposed offer. It is possible that others have posted about people or businesses trying to run scams
  • Resist pressure to act quickly. Scammers use this sense of urgency to create fear and make victims act irrationally.
  • Be cautious of any unsolicited calls, mailings, and door-to-door service offers.
  • Never give or send any personally identifiable information, money gift cards, checks, or wire information to unverified people and businesses.
  • Make sure any computer anti-virus, malware, and security software are up to date and make sure all are from reputable services.
  • Enable popup blockers and never click on popups form nontrusted sources.
  • Never open an e-mail attachment from someone you don’t know.
  • Take precautions to protect your identity. Monitor accounts and personal information for suspicious activity.

If you think you’ve been a victim of any of these scams don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk to someone you trust. You can contact the local FBI field office, the FTC, police, your bank, and/or Adult Protective Services. When reporting a scam, you’ll want to include as much information as possible the FBI recommends including:

  • Name of the scammer and/or company
  • Date(s) of contact
  • Methods of contact
  • Phone numbers, email addresses, mailing addresses, and web sites used by the scammer
  • Methods of payment
  • Where funds were sent, including wire transfers (providing financial institution names, account names, and account numbers) and prepaid cards
  • Descriptions of your interactions and any instructions you were given

9-month certificate

Build your savings securely with as little as $500. Limited Time Offer.

Kirtland FCU will be performing system maintenance on Saturday, April 23 & Sunday, April 24, between 9:00pm–7:00am MDT.

Online, Mobile, and Telephone Banking will be intermittently unavailable during this period. Click here for complete details.