Caring for our senior loved ones is a privilege and a responsibility that many of us hold dear. As caregivers, we provide not only physical care but also emotional support to our ageing family members. In Singapore, where the ageing population is on the rise, safeguarding our seniors from scams is of paramount importance. In this article, we’ll explore why seniors are vulnerable to scams and how caregivers can play a vital role in protecting them.
Seniors and Scams:
A Growing Concern
Why are seniors targeted?
Seniors often fall prey to scams due to their trusting nature and lack of familiarity with modern technology. Scammers are aware of this vulnerability and may change tactics to target a wider audience.
The changing scam landscape
Scammers now opt for smaller, frequent hits rather than targeting one victim for their life savings. This strategy increases their chances of success. For example, they may cheat $100 from 1,000 victims instead of $100,000 from one.
Caregivers: The First Line of Defense
Empathy and vigilance
As caregivers, our empathy and vigilance can make a significant difference. By understanding the changing scam landscape and the tactics used, we can better protect our seniors.
ScamShield is a powerful defence system in Singapore, supported by the Singapore Police Force (SPF), aimed at combating scams. By encouraging users to report scam information via the ScamShield Bot or the official Apps, it enhances its effectiveness.
The Bot can identify previously reported scam details, SPF-confirmed scam contacts, and suspicious web links. These findings result in blacklisting known scam contacts, blocking their SMSes and calls on the ScamShield App.
The Apps themselves verify incoming calls and text messages, automatically blocking numbers associated with scams, and categorising scam SMSes into a dedicated folder for iOS or sending notifications on Android. This collective effort helps protect the community from scams in Singapore.
The ScamShield app offers three primary functions:
- It automatically obstructs fraudulent phone calls
- Identifies scam text messages without user intervention
- Provides a platform for users to report both suspicious messages and calls
On the other hand, the ScamShield bot is equipped with two key functions:
- It assesses the legitimacy of messages and calls to determine if they are scams
- It reports such fraudulent activities to the Singapore Police Force (SPF)
Recognizing the signs
Educate seniors about potential scams. Encourage them to ask questions, fact-check requests, and verify online listings and reviews. Remind them that if something seems too good to be true, it’s likely a scam.
Reporting and sharing
Teach seniors to report scam encounters promptly. Encourage them to report to the bank, ScamShield, or file a police report. Share information about ongoing scams and preventive steps with others.
Supporting Caregivers in Singapore
In Singapore, there are numerous organisations dedicated to supporting caregivers and seniors. These organisations offer resources, advice, and assistance in dealing with scams.
In case of a suspected scam, you can call these hotlines:
- Anti-Scam Hotline: 1800-722-6688 (9am – 5pm)
- National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868 (8am – 12am)
Or visit these sites for more information:
Download ScamShield here:
- Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.whatsapp&fbclid=IwAR0PpKE_1z74sc8Q4kxnKQzFODOLmtRmNymvo8Bz6ZJOg5djNQDMvdHSt2c
- Apple: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/whatsapp-messenger/id310633997?mt=8&fbclid=IwAR30kILqJposAMfPq2JiGQ00o5NwVDc3jvu86wtcmAwzPNCTJXLZaooUpVk
Being a caregiver to a senior loved one can be challenging, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Protecting them from scams is one of the many responsibilities we shoulder. By staying informed, vigilant, and supportive, we can make a substantial difference in safeguarding our seniors in Singapore. Together, we can ensure their well-being and financial security in an increasingly digital world.
At SG Assist, we are dedicated to supporting caregivers and your loved ones. From providing essential resources to connecting caregivers with professional care services, we are here for you every step of the way. Visit our websites at SG Assist and CareConnect, and our Caregiver Resource Centre, or sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on the latest developments and caregiver support initiatives. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those we care for.
Story was adapted from The Straits Times, https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/more-victims-scammed-in-first-half-of-2023-but-amount-cheated-falls-from-342m-to-334m
ScamShield. (n.d.). About us. https://www.scamshield.org.sg/about-us/