Seniors are targeted for financial scams and fraud all the time, and in many ways. Senior fraud is also widely underreported, and many cases go completely unreported, mainly due to confusion, embarrassment, and fear. Financial fraud can include a broad range of conduct, from physical assault to identity theft. Seniors are often targeted for financial fraud by:
– Telemarketing fraud
Seniors almost always pick up their telephones, and are less likely to hang up when subjected to telemarketers.
– Mail fraud and email fraud
Seniors often get lots of mail and subscriptions, and are therefore a target for mail scams.
– Personal theft
Scammers can obtain personal information by going through a senior’s trash, mailbox, etc.
– Unauthorized access to funds by deception
Seniors are easier to deceive, and can be lured into sharing bank account information with family members or friends who make false promises or show affection only in the hope of gaining the senior’s money.
– Overcharging and excessive payments
Seniors are often unaware of how much things should realistically cost and are overcharged for services all the time, including dragged-out services, excessive bills, etc.
– Selling of bogus items
Selling fake items to seniors is a common scam, where they are lured into buying a product which is bogus or non-existent.
– Fraudulent legal documents
Many scammers cloak their actions in legal authority, and produce fraudulent documents in order to gain access to and ownership of a senior’s money and property.
– Signatures by intimidation or deception, and forged signatures
Seniors can easily be mislead into signing documents, often by intimidation or deception, because they are trusting, gullible, or fearful. Scammers may also forge their signature on documents, and many times the senior cannot recognize whether it was theirs or not or think they just don’t remember signing it.
– Faked injuries or scenarios to get money
Many times seniors are fooled into wiring money to a supposed family member in need, which is actually a scammer over the phone or writing the email.
– Offering false prizes, such as lottery scams
“You’ve won!” scams are very common, which guarantee free prizes once the senior “claims” them (and gives out personal information), along with “You’ve won the lottery!” scams which often come in the mail and present a false check.
– Unsolicited home repair work
Solicitors coming door-to-door offering repair work on a senior’s home or yard are often scammers. Telltale signs are: they demand upfront payment, they do an investigation which reveals a more expensive problem, they drag out the process, overcharge, and do shoddy work. It can even lead to burglary.
– Mugging/physical assault
Seniors with visible disabilities are often targeted on the street, in grocery stores, parking lots, etc and their purse or wallet is taken from them.
Home Is Where The Older Adult Should Feel Safe
Elderly citizens spend most of their time in their homes, especially since retirement and due to sickness and disabilities. Home is where one should feel comfortable and safe. Installing working locks on doors and windows, a home security system, surveillance camera, locked mailbox, etc are sometimes the measures that need to be taken to ensure security in your loved one’s home. Scammers often patrol neighborhoods looking for homes easy to break into and potentially owned by seniors. Factors they often look for in finding a senior’s home are a grass mat at the front door, an older car in the driveway, veteran stickers in the vehicle or in the windows, patriotic flags, etc. And don’t allow your senior’s home to appear to be isolated; have family members visit when they can to deter potential fraudulent solicitors. Make sure they throw out questionable mail and shred papers and documents with important information before throwing away. Taking these precautions may just save your loved one from identity theft or falling victim to a financial scam, all the while making their home a safer and more comfortable place to live.
If you would like to learn more about how our caregivers can help your loved one prevent senior fraud, give us a call at (805) 934-0600 or email us via our contact form.