The National Council on Aging has published its “Top Ten Financial Scams Targeting Seniors” list. https://www.ncoa.org/economic-security/money-management/scams-security/top-10-scams-targeting-seniors/. These scams are crimes, and they are on the rise. When they happen, they are devastating to not only the senior victim, but also to those who care for them, or must shoulder the financial burden when the scam has left the senior less able to.
If you are caring for a loved one in his/her senior years, please send them this link, and talk to them about these despicable, but popular scams:
(1) Medicare/health insurance scams: The perpetrator poses as a health care representative; the whole purpose is to get the senior’s personal information, which can then be used to submit false bills to Medicare and other insurers.
(2) Counterfeit prescription drugs: As seniors go on the internet to find cheaper drugs, scammers will sell them a “drug” that ranges from completely useless to dangerous.
(3) Funeral and cemetery scams: Disreputable funeral homes add unnecessary charges to their bills; schemers go to funerals, introducing themselves to family members as debtors of the deceased.
(4) Fraudulent anti-aging products: Botox scams are among the most dangerous, as some use the highly toxic ingredient used in legitimate Botox treatments, except the scammers don’t know what they’re doing, and thus endanger the senior’s health.
(5) Telemarketing/phone scams: These involve the senior being told over the phone that some “worthy” cause-the senior’s relative or a charity, for example-needs money, all to gain access to the senior’s money and bank account.
(6) Internet fraud: Fake anti-virus programs are sent to seniors and then unwittingly down loaded, thus making available to the perpetrator information on the senior’s computer.
(7) Investment schemes: Real estate, plan-for-retirement, manage-your-money, etc., schemes often urge the senior to “make sure the money is there when you need it”.
(8) Homeowner/reverse mortgage scams: These target seniors who own their homes. They range from offers to get the senior’s home “reassessed” (for a fee) in order to reduce the property tax burden, to schemes which pressure seniors to unlock the equity in their homes through reverse mortgages.
(9) Sweepstakes and lottery scams: Seniors are told they have “WON!” money of some kind, but that they need to make a payment in order to receive the “prize”.
(10) The grandparent scam: This typically involves the scammer pretending to be a grandchild who needs money for some seemingly simple purpose (overdue rent, for example), thus trying to take advantage of the senior’s strong emotional desire to support young family members.
This information may help prevent your relative from being conned by one of these scams. However, if it is too late and your loved one has already become a victim of one of these or a similar scam, contact a lawyer at The Collins Law Firm to see if we can help.