GRAND Magazine - July/August 2019 - 15

tech talk

Get rich quick, ransom
threats and other scams
BY DEANNA SHOSS

A friend called me in a panic: she and her husband had received
a ransom email from someone claiming to have full access
to their computer. The email threatened that if they
didn't pay them $750 in bitcoin, they were going to
be exposed for having visited porn sites.
Well...no they're not. I don't know which came first
but this commonplace scam might have been inspired
by a 2016 episode of the chillingly prescient sci-fi series,
Black Mirror (Netflix).
Actually, companies and even cities are being hacked for
ransom. In June, the city of Riviera Beach, Florida, a community of
35,000 residents, paid a $600,000 ransom to get its data back. But there
are no widespread reports of individuals being attacked like this, and why would
anyone bother? It costs nothing to send a million emails and someone will believe
the scam, right?
According to the Federal Reserve's latest Survey of Consumer Finances, wealth
continues to shift to the nation's older adults. (Forbes.com; March 6, 2018.) That's
great news for financial stability but it makes older people prime targets for financial
scams,
The National Council on Aging lists three scams making the rounds. First is a new
twist on the "help, it's me, your stranded grandchild". Now, instead of wiring money
or sending gift cards, they instruct you to put cash in a magazine and mail it. That
sound legit, right? Fake charities that pop up after natural disasters and posing as the
Social Security Administration round out the top three new scams targeting seniors
in 2019. NPR's Marketplace adds Lottery Winnings and others to their list.
15 GRAND

JULY-AUG 2019

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https://www.facebook.com/GRANDmagazine/ https://www.twitter.com/grandMmagazine https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/files/scf17.pdf https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilhowe/2018/03/16/the-graying-of-wealth/#194276d302da https://www.ncoa.org/blog/3-most-popular-scams-targeting-seniors/ https://www.ncoa.org/blog/3-most-popular-scams-targeting-seniors/ https://www.marketplace.org/2019/05/16/brains-losses-top-financial-scams-2018/

GRAND Magazine - July/August 2019

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