It’s a common knowledge that we forget things as we age, but did you know that scientists have found evidence in our brains that we become financially vulnerable as we age?
Dr. Mark Lachs, a physician at Weill-Cornell Medicine in New York has put a label on what he calls ‘age-associated financial vulnerability.’ Even for healthy people that don’t have neurodegenerative illnesses, like Alzheimer’s, all people can be more susceptible to scams as we age.
In light of this information, you can help protect your loved ones as they age by educating them about the common scams and how to listen for warning signs that someone is trying to scam them.
The following article from Elder Law Attorney Lisa DiFranza features the common elder scams in America and tactics for how to avoid becoming a victim.
The Elderly Make Easy Targets for Scammers
The elderly are an easy target for scammers because they tend to be lonely, very trusting, afraid of technology, and most have savings accounts. The scammers aren’t prejudiced either; they target wealthy seniors and low-income seniors. The scams are most commonly done through phone, email, and door hangers. The types of scams include:
- Banking & Wire Transfers
- Charity Donations
- Credit Card Offers
- Health Products
- Home Improvements
Most Common Elder Scams in America
These calls are the most common and the caller will pretend to offer:
- Cash Advance Loans
- Extended Warranties
- Free Trials
- Once In A Lifetime Investment Opportunities
- Prizes for Sweepstakes
- Travel Packages for Great Deals
The callers may pretend to be:
- Bank Representatives
- Distant Relatives or Grandchildren
- IRS Agents
- Medicare Representatives
Health Insurance Scams
These calls are typically related to Medicare and the caller will pretend to be a Medicare representative. They will say the person needs a new Medicare card and they need to provide their social security number. They may ask for contributions to new programs or they will try to sell you additional policies. Make sure your loved one knows they should never give their social security number to anyone that calls or emails them.
In these calls, the caller will pretend to be a grandchild and they will ask for money via a wire transfer or cash. To help prevent these types of scams, make sure your loved one has everyone’s phone number programmed into their phone. They should know if a grandchild is calling or not. You can also have grandchildren call regularly so they know they sound of their voice.
IRS Imposter Scams
These calls can be very scary and even threaten arrest. They use rude language and crude behavior to try to get people to pay. They also demand immediate payment. To help prevent these types of scams, make sure your loved one knows the IRS rarely uses the phone. They are more likely to send a certified letter regarding taxes.
Help protect your loved ones by educating them about the common scams listed above. Print the article and give them a copy so they can reference it at any time.
If they are unable to understand the concepts or get upset when you try to explain it to them, look for signs that indicate they have become a victim of a scam by calling and visiting them regularly and if you have the authority or can get permission, offer to help review phone records, bank statements, and financial transactions.
As an elder law attorney, Lisa DiFranza works closely with people in Florida who serve as Guardians for elderly loved ones. For help with Guardianship or Guardian Advocacy schedule a consultation with DiFranza Law today.