Elderly citizens are an easy target for scams and fraud for a number of reasons; seniors usually live alone or with only a significant other, they are usually retired, have a large savings, are often physically and/or mentally impaired, lonely, and easy to deceive. Con artists take advantage of these factors, leaving seniors victims to financial abuse everywhere.
Con artists know that elderly people almost always answer their phones, and are more reluctant to hang up on people. They use this to their advantage by carrying out most senior scams over the telephone. Fraudulent telemarketers may call many times a day, and at all times of day, and the senior will usually always pick up. If a fraudulent company can easily get a hold of a senior, they will then sell that senior’s contact information to other fraudulent companies.
Seniors are often isolated from people in the way they live, being retired and alone, and are easy targets because of this. Isolation from the rest of society in old age is common, and can give con artists an easy way in. A house often unguarded or unvisited by others may be targeted for burglary and identity theft by “dumpster digging”, finding personal information in the senior’s trash, as well as mailbox.
Loneliness and depression cause seniors to become more susceptible to scams. Scammers go after seniors because they are vulnerable, and loneliness can make a senior eager to trust, more gullible and easier to fool. If a senior has work or hobbies, family or a spouse around often, they are less susceptible to falling victim to fraud. Scammers mostly rely on gullibility to achieve their goal with a scam.
Physical and mental stress and disabilities also make seniors an easy target for scams. Impaired mental health can lead to bad decision-making and inability to spot scams, and it can also be a factor which con artists use to their advantage. Many seniors are sent false medical bills, fake medication or fake prescription memberships, are overcharged for medical services, many of which are unnecessary and excessive, and are targeted with fraudulent medical advertisements online, via mail, and via email.
Many seniors have all their savings in one account, which has been built up over their lifetime and can often be quite large. This makes them a sought-after target for financial scams and identity theft. People may try and take advantage of elders for their money or property, such as caregivers, family members, doctors, lawyers, accountants, friends, etc. It’s important that the senior does not keep their money all in one place, and takes extra precautions with its security. Be wary of people showing interest in your elderly loved one’s finances, and entrust only one trusted person to assist your family member with their finances and important documents.
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.