Supporting Older Adults During the Holidays: Tip 3

Written by Camila Dos Santos, Program Coordinator of the Healthy Relationships Initiative & Heather Magill, Elder Justice Specialist Coordinator at the Guilford County Family Justice Center

The holiday season is the prime time for scammers to take advantage of your generosity and giving spirit. The isolation created by COVID-19 makes us all more vulnerable to frauds and scams. Make sure to take time to talk with your loved ones about recognizing and avoiding scams. Below are some of the most common Holiday scams including tips to avoid them. 

  1. Charity Scams – Be cautious of pushy telemarketers, emails, fake websites, and individuals approaching you in stores or parking lots requesting charitable donations. Take time to research and validate organizations before making a donation. Never give someone your checking account information. Charities can be verified with the NC Secretary of State at www.sosnc.gov
  2. Online Shopping – It is expected that more online shopping will take place this Holiday season with restrictions in place due to COVID-19 and concerns for mass gatherings. Scammers are proficient in spoofing websites, e-mails, and coupon offers. When purchasing gifts online this year, consider using well known websites and being careful when clicking on offers in e-mails or coupon pop-ups. If you see an item that you are interested in, consider looking up the website yourself in lieu of clicking short-cut links. Ordering items from spoofed websites can lead to stolen credit card and bank information. 

Grandparent Scam – Although this scam has been around for a while, it is still popular and continues to morph into different scenarios. These scammers target older adults and they have often been able to obtain a name of a grandchild. If you get a call stating the caller is your grandchild or someone calling on behalf of your grandchild stating they are in jail, stuck overseas, or in another urgent situation that requires you to wire or mail funds, ask questions only your grandchild could answer or hang up try making contact with your grandchild directly. This scam plays on your emotions and attempts to make you give funds immediately.

Being aware of holiday scams that target older adults can help you keep them safe during the holidays.