How Fraudsters Target Retirees With ‘Vishing’ Scams: Three Easy Ways To Protect Yourself

“Vishing’ is a double-layered scam. It could start with a phone call stating “your grandson is in trouble and needs money.” Then the caller asks for money.

In 2022, according to Ally Armeson, executive program director at Cybercrime Support Network, “38% of the reports submitted to the FTC by consumers ages 80+ indicated phone calls as the initial contact method. (Phone calls were the top contact method for this age group.)”

“Vishing, also known as voice phishing,” Aremson adds, “is a growing threat in the world of cybercrime specifically targeting the elderly population. By impersonating fake charities to con senior citizens into donating money, posing as a relative, or pretending to be trusted places like government agencies – the scam banks on the fact that the elderly are more keen to trust phone interactions. As a result, divulging credit card details, social security numbers, login credentials, or other valuable data is likely to be shared.”

How can we void Vishing scams? I asked Armeson how to protect yourself:

  • Take the initiative to verify the caller’s identity by going directly to the company’s organization’s website.
  • Never share financial or personal information over the phone. Legitimate organizations will never request information like credit card details, social security numbers, or passwords.
  • Don’t be afraid to question the legitimacy of unknown numbers and be weary of providing sensitive information over the phone without confirming the legitimacy of the caller.
  • Caller ID can easily be spoofed, so don’t trust it alone to determine whether the call is legitimate. I recommend staying vigilant and being cautious about sharing sensitive information.
  • I recommend sending any unrecognized phone caller to voicemail so you’re able to screen the call. Don’t forget to report suspicious calls or suspected fraudulent activity to FTC at

In general, avoid giving any financial or Social Security information over the phone or through text or emails. It’s the best way to avoid being swindled.

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