Whether you are a caregiver or a person over the age of 65, it’s important to keep up with the latest senior citizen scams. Unfortunately, new scams crop up every day, and oftentimes seniors are bullied or talked into spending their life savings or retirement money on an idea or product for a return that they’ll never see. Senior citizen financial abuse is a real thing, and it’s a good idea to look for the signs. Unfortunately, financial elder abuse by a family member is even possible.
Outside Elder Financial Abuse
While senior financial abuse can happen by a family member, it is more often the act of someone who doesn’t even know the other person. For example, telemarketing scams are very common and should send out elder financial exploitation red flags. It’s a good reminder that Social Security or the IRS will never call you and ask for money.
There are also charity scams (asking an older person to give to a favorite charity), or a fake call regarding “found” money. In this scam, the caller asks to split a sum of money with you but needs your bank information. To prevent these types of senior scams, the best advice is to never give your credit card information or bank information out to someone you don’t know over the phone.
Internet Senior Citizen Scams and Elder Financial Abuse
Senior citizen fraud happens quite frequently on the Internet as well. More and more seniors are aging in place, and many older generations are not that familiar with computers or the Internet, and cannot detect a phishing email. Just as with the phone, Social Security, the IRS, your credit card company, or any other reputable agency, will never ask for any type of account information via email. If you take part in online shopping, use a site that is secured and verified.
It is possible for someone to “eavesdrop” or “listen” in on an email, should they really wish to. To prevent senior citizen scams and elder financial abuse, never give out personal information.
More Senior Citizen Scams to Avoid
There are even more senior citizen scams to avoid that older people and their caregivers should be aware of. Some of these include:
- Investment schemes. This will likely be a real, live, face-to-face person involved in senior citizen scams and elder financial abuse. Don’t use any investors you don’t know or don’t trust.
- Fake anti-aging products. There are plenty of products on the market that are supposed to “erase wrinkles” or perform some kind of other miracles, but many of these are financial abuse as well.
- Grandchild scam. A person will call claiming to be the granddaughter or grandson of the person, reveal that they are in trouble, and will ask the grandparent to wire money to a certain location. Unfortunately, this isn’t a real grandchild, and the money disappears into thin air.
- Sweepstakes and mortgage scams. Just like investments, be wary of someone asking you to be part of a reverse mortgage or second mortgage if you didn’t ask for the information. Also, never enter a sweepstake or lottery that asks for large sums of money upfront, as these are simply senior citizen scams.
When a Family Member Is Responsible
It can be the most heartbreaking of all when a family member is responsible for elder financial abuse. Still, identifying elder financial abuse is important, so all aspects must be discussed. With a family member, this is usually done without the older person’s knowledge; for example, the person has access to accounts and is slowly pilfering money away, or is abusing a trust or some other kind of fund. Alternatively, the family member could be bullying or pressuring the person to give him or her money as a demand.
What to Do if You Suspect Elder Financial Abuse
The Older Americans Act of 1964 was enacted to help protect older people from any type of abuse, including senior citizen scams, so you should know what to do if your elderly parent is being scammed. The best thing to do, first of all, is to contact the local authorities and file a police claim.
Next, if the scam was “through an agency” (for example, a person claiming to be an IRS agent), you must also contact the agency to report the fraud. In many elder financial abuse cases, money is often not recovered, so it’s best to be on the lookout before scams occur rather than after.
For more information on what to do if you suspect senior citizen scams or elder abuse, or to hear about life-changing medical products, such as stair lifts, that can help improve an elderly person’s mobility, contact the Williams Lift Co. today to speak with a member of our professional team.