It is a sad and unfortunate fact of life that the most vulnerable people among us are often the ones who are targeted by criminals seeking financial gains. In particular, financial scams targeting senior citizens have become so prevalent that the FBI has an entire department committed to protecting unsuspecting seniors and stopping the perpetrators. Here is the most important information you should know to protect your loved ones from elder scams.
Why Senior Citizens?
Senior citizens have certain characteristics that are very attractive to con artists and criminals. Many of them have a large savings account, nest eggs, and excellent credit, yet they are polite and trusting of most people they talk to. This combination is easy for con artists to exploit, and seniors are unlikely to report the crime because they either don’t realize they’ve been scammed or aren’t sure how to report the situation.
Be Aware of the Most Common Elder Scams
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) has compiled a list of ten common elder scams. The elder scam that occurs most involves fraudsters posing as Medicare representatives to convince seniors to divulge their personal information. This enables criminals to use Medicare information to bill Medicare for fraudulent services and then keep the money.
Counterfeit prescription drug fraud is another frequent issue. Fraudsters set up websites that sell counterfeit prescription drugs at low prices to entice seniors hoping to save money. Other scams include the following:
- Extorting money from family members of the recently deceased by claiming outstanding debts are owed.
- Scamming seniors by selling anti-aging products that are worthless or harmful.
- Posing as a grandchild in a financial bind and asking the elder person to send money using Western Union or MoneyGram.
Protecting Your Loved Ones
Protecting your elderly loved ones from financial scams can be difficult, but there are a few strategies you can use. First and foremost, encourage your loved one to communicate with you before making any large purchase or spending money in a new or different way. This can alert you to unusual spending decisions that could be a result of a scam.
It’s also wise to discuss the different scamming threats with your loved ones. Explain the methods that scammers use so that your loved one is more likely to withhold information from scammer. When in doubt, contact an elder law attorney like the Law Offices of Kimberly K. Muenter in Tampa Bay. Attorney Muenter can provide the help you need to fight against elder abuse and fraud. Call 941.567.1671 to schedule an appointment now.