Tips & Advice

Learn how to protect elders from tech support scams

Christopher Budd 4 Jun 2021

Protect yourself and your loved ones from tech support scams

On Monday, June 7, at 12 PM Eastern US time, I’ll be giving a presentation to the National Council on Aging’s Age+Action conference titled “Protect Yourself and Others from Tech Support Scams.”

Tech support scams disproportionately affect elders. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)’s 2020 report tells us that the majority of tech support scam victims (66 percent) are over 60 years of age and experienced 84 percent of the losses, for a total of over $116 million.

I personally know people who have been hit by these cybercrime attacks and the impact they have is truly heartbreaking. In some cases, people have even watched helplessly as their life savings went away, forcing them to return to work. That’s what happened recently in Chicago, Illinois, where Jamil Qandah was defrauded out of his life savings, over $200,000, by a phone-based tech support scam. The scammer was actually posing as a tech support person from Avast, which brought the issue even harder home.

This problem is growing in scope. Scammers seek to exploit people’s unfamiliarity with technology for their own ends. It’s also important to understand that today’s tech support scammers are professional, well-organized, and well-run outfits that rival modern legitimate call centers in their operational sophistication and efficiency.

I’m proud to be taking time to help elders -- and those who care for and assist them -- to understand how serious this threat is, how these criminals operate, and, most importantly, what people can do to protect themselves. And as a sneak preview, you should know that protecting yourself is simple and requires no technical skills at all.

If you’re an elder, care for and assist an elder, or are interested in this topic, I hope you’ll take time to register for the conference and join me as I speak on this important issue.