The scammers pay “information brokers” for the lists of names, and then make contact with you by telephone. The information brokers do not care about your privacy, nor what the thieves want to do with the information they sell. Brokers just want to make a profit from the names they sell. Isolated, unsuspecting, vulnerable elders receive a pleasant sounding phone call from a scammer, pretending to be asking for financial information for a legitimate purpose. The scam artist is chatty, friendly, and personable. Lonely elderly people are easily victimized, particularly if they are isolated, or they suffer from memory problems, dementia, or confusion. The thieves want your buying habits, your opinion, and your personal financial information, such as your bank account location and account number. They use it immediately to gain access to your account, draining your funds and getting away with it. The thieves rely on the bank to allow them to access your money, and the banks do nothing to stop the access, even when the thieves’ names are not on your account. One telephone call can leave a person destitute if he or she gives out this personal information.
If you notice that you have, or an aging parent or loved one has any memory problems, you may be a target. If you find yourself sometimes confused about who is calling on your home telephone, you are vulnerable to these telephone thieves. Never give out your account number to anyone, no matter how nice they seem, nor how often they call just to talk. Beware of these scams. It happens often, and millions of dollars are stolen from elders each year. The thieves are very difficult to catch and rarely is any money recovered for the victims.