Seniors are one of the most vulnerable populations when it comes to being targeted for scams and fraud. The FBI estimates that elders lose up to $3 billion annually as victims of such schemes. Awareness and education are key components to preventing loved ones from falling fraud or scams. Here are some is a guide to how to prevent seniors from becoming victims of a scam or fraud.
How Older People Become Targets
Seniors become targets for fraud and scams because they meet criteria that make them attractive to scammers. This includes:
- Owning a home
- Having financial savings
- Good credit
Seniors are also less likely to report a crime like this. In some cases, older people aren’t sure whom to report it to. There are also feelings of shame attached with being a victim of such crimes. They fear that if family members find out about it, they will think that their loved one can’t handle their finances.
Grandparent Scam: A scam where someone poses as a person’s child or grandchild most commonly and pretends to be in need of immediate financial help.
Sweepstakes or Lottery Scam: When individuals claim they work for a company or organization and tell a person they’ve won a sweepstakes or lottery, which costs a fee to collect.
Government Scam: People posing as government officials who claim a person will be arrested or prosecuted if they don’t pay money or fees.
Tips to Avoid Fraud
Isolation puts seniors more at risk for fraud or scams. This can be for practical reasons such as not being able to drive or leave their home independently. Hiring a caregiver or companion may improve isolation.
Use direct deposit to prevent benefit checks and other payments from being stolen and never give any financial information or a Medicare number or Social Security Number over the phone to anyone.
Family members like adult children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews are responsible for 90% of elder abuse including financial abuse, so it’s important to look out for signs that something could be amiss.
Do research before accepting any offers or entering into a financial transaction. Your loved one should be aware of the terms of what they are agreeing to and be able to decide independently whether to make that decision.
Helping seniors become less isolated in Orange County or Newport Beach, CA is one way to help prevent them from becoming victims of scams or fraud. Consider hiring a companion caregiver from Optimal Senior Care Solutions. Our care team would be happy to walk you through your options. Reach out to us today.