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How to Protect the Elderly from Scams

Scammers are targeting the elderly now more than ever and unfortunately, older adults have lost billions of dollars a year to scammers. With new types of scams and scammers disguising their attacks more discreetly, parents or older family members are more likely to fall victim to these attacks. According to the National Council on Aging Americans, those aged 60 and older have experienced some elder abuse or scam in the last year. Don’t let your loved ones fall victim to one of these devastating scams and begin protecting them today.

5 Common Elderly Scams

Grandchild Is in Trouble

This scam occurs when the caller notifies the elder adult that their grandchild has been hurt or is in jail and needs money immediately. We have seen this scam around for many years and now we have seen scammers asking for cash instead of wire transfers or gift cards. The best action to take is to tell them to hang up and call the grandchild directly. If they have already sent money, you can contact the post office and file a complaint to the federal trade commission.

Natural Disaster

These scams target the elderly who are looking to help the community in a time of need or those directly affected by the disaster. This includes events like wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes. We have seen these scams come in the form of phone calls, emails, websites, or in person. It is important to only support reputable companies.

Phone Calls

Many scammers over the phone pretend to be representing a credit card company or a government agency to get the person to call back or press a number to connect them. Or in another attempt, we have seen scammers offer to help retrieve a stolen social security number. Typically, people do not  randomly receive a direct call from these agencies unless they have dealt with them in the past.

Lottery/Giveaway

This scam will come in the form of a giveaway or prize to make it seem like you are a winner or are close to winning. Maybe it is money, jewelry, or a free vacation. It is more than likely a scam, especially if they ask for a money down payment that they claim will be returned to receive your prize. Remind your loved ones that it is illegal for someone from a contest to require you to pay to enter a contest or giveaway. Everyone loves to win money. Please inform your loved ones to keep a close eye on the information required to win because these scams can be extremely deceiving.

Romance Scam

This is one of the most common scams that the elderly fall for. The scammer will impersonate someone else to attract the elderly person and then establish a relationship with them. They may ask for money or just have multiple conversations to get them to reveal personal information. The scammer will continue to ask and receive information without having any intentions to meet the elderly person. Make sure your older family members know how to report these scam profiles to help other elderly folks not become a victim to this scam.

Top Tips To Protect The Elderly From Scams

The elderly are the prime targets for many different forms of scams, not just the scams mentioned previously. Scammers have been disguising scams in many different ways and are looking to gain personal information, steal debit card information, and have money sent to them. Don’t let your older family members lose money any longer. Make sure they know these tips to ensure they do not become a victim to these scammers.

Protect Their Information

It is important to make sure that only a trusted family member or personal financial advisor handles your elder’s personal finances or banking information. Make sure to review any larger purchase or financial investment by reviewing it with a trusted loved one or financial advisor.

Know Who They’re Talking With

It is important to remind your elderly relatives to never exchange a pin, social, bank account number, or other personal information with a random phone number or person they have never met before. It is crucial that before sending any money to anyone, you review the company/entity or have a family member or friend do some research for you. Instruct your relative to never rush into something they have recently received especially if it involves credit cards or other personal information. This is essential in avoiding any financial exploitation.

Get Recommendations

Nothing is better than receiving a recommendation from a friend or family member that you trust. This is essential when our elderly family member or friend is looking for caretakers, meal plans, or other helpful services. It is always beneficial to hear about other people’s experience to make the decision much easier.

Be Cautious of Unexpected Visits or Calls

Remind your older family members of unexpected visitors at their door or continuously receiving phone calls from the same number. Many times the visitor or phone call is a sales pitch looking for them to act immediately. Please advise your older family members to not open the door for strangers as most door-to-door sales are not very common.

Vet the Mail and Emails They Receive

The elderly receive more mail daily than most young adults. Whether it is in the form of email or direct mail, it is essential to review what they are receiving and report any suspicious mail they may receive. The process of vetting may require the help of a trusted professional, friend, or family member. It’s crucial to inform your older loved ones to ask for assistance if they are interested in something they have recently received. Never let them rush into a large financial investment or event that may seem too good to be true.

Use Identity Theft Protection

There are many new online services you can utilize to help make sure personal data does not get into the wrong hands. These services help people to keep a closer eye on their information and will alert them if there is any suspicious activity going on. These services even have systems in place to help in the event information is compromised.

We always want to look out for and protect our older family members whether it may entail phone or text monitoring. With scams becoming more common, people of all ages are vulnerable. Do not let your elderly loved ones lose any more money or become a victim to another one of these clever scams. Use the tips above to inform your family about the scams out there and what to do if they are being targeted.