Protecting Our Elderly: Combating Money Fraud Scams

Upset woman

Let me just be honest, my Daddy would still be asking, ‘How in the world is this phone working and I can’t get a dial tone?’ You see Daddy was born in 1912 and was one of the first people of color in his community to get a Ford Model T. How times have changed. Daddy would think I was telling a fib if I told him that a machine could record my voice, call his house phone and ask him to send me money and he wouldn’t know it was not his baby girl.

“Aw shucks! You don’t mean to say.” Daddy would exclaim in disbelief. Sadly, “I do mean to say,” and everyone is at risk, especially our elderly.

As society digitizes, the elderly face rising vulnerability to money fraud. In Alachua County, Florida, with a growing senior population, it’s crucial to take steps to protect them from financial exploitation.

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Education is crucial, but trusting your instincts is vital. Impersonation scams, fueled by AI, are the new Model T. If you receive a call requesting urgent money for a grandchild or loved one, ask for their location and offer to call the police for assistance until you confirm their identity. If this is one of the many money fraud scams, scammers will hang up so fast, you might think you hear a dial tone.

Also, be on alert for phishing emails and bogus lottery schemes. I always wished Ed McMahon would show up at our front door with a handful of balloons and a big styrofoam check, but he never did and chances are no one will be showing up at your door either. If you get a call from someone saying you won a Million Dollar Sweepstakes, simply hang up. And for the love of Johnny Carson, definitely never provide personal information to strangers on the phone. What does Johnny have to do with this, not much, I just wanted to give him equal time with Ed.

Ask your bank and financial institution managers about the additional security measures they have in place, such as fraud alerts and account monitoring services, to help detect and prevent fraudulent transactions.

What would Daddy think?

Since the debut of the Ford Model T in 1908, transportation has evolved significantly, necessitating safety measures like speed limits, seatbelts, and airbags. Similarly, the internet and AI mark technological advancements in a new era, leaving our citizens vulnerable.

Here’s a word to the wise, as we navigate the vast internet highway, remember to buckle up with a healthy dose of skepticism, take your time before making decisions, and stay informed by connecting with trusted institutions like churches, senior groups, and agencies. These principles ensure a safer online journey for all Alachua County residents. Safe travels!

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Political advertisement paid for and approved by Pamela Marshall-Koons, Independent for Alachua County Sheriff.