Live 5 Scambusters: Isolation of pandemic creates void for scammers

Updated: Feb. 24, 2021 at 1:30 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The isolation of the pandemic can leave older people more susceptible to scams.

“COVID has exacerbated some of the trends that allow people to become victimized,” Wells Fargo Director of Aging Client Services Ron Long said.

According to a recent Wells Fargo study, 25% of respondents age 60 years old and older acknowledged feeling lonely, while 43% reported that they may not speak to anyone for days at a time.

“That works exactly into the hands of the scammers who build trust - they build a relationship,” Long said. “It just makes it that much easier to victimize them when the scammers move in for finance, money, or what have you.”

There are several ways to better protect yourself, and your loved ones from such scams: speak with trustworthy family members about your financial plans: sign up for direct deposit, automatic bill pay, and large transaction alerts. Be wary of new, overly protective friends or caregivers.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said his office supports legislation requiring certain individuals managing a vulnerable adult’s finances to contact adult protective services and the Attorney General’s Office if they suspect that abuse or exploitation has taken place.

“Every crisis creates opportunities for fraud, and there are unscrupulous people always waiting to take advantage of fear and uncertainty,” Attorney General Wilson said.

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