Posted on Aug 07, 2012 | Comments (0)
It is a sad and scary truth that in today’s society, senior citizens are often the victim of fraud. According to the FBI, seniors are a common target because they likely have a “nest egg,” own their own home and have good credit.
Personal values have changed as well. People who grew up in the 30s, 40s and 50s tend to place a higher importance on respect and good manners. Because of those common courtesies, many seniors have a hard time saying “no,” closing the door on someone or just hanging up the phone. Con artists are aware of these traits and unfortunately exploit them.
Scams geared toward seniors come in various forms, which make them somewhat difficult to monitor. The FBI, AARP and SEC track these frauds, and can give you a list of the specific scams that are trending now.
Common scams to look out for occur around healthcare and insurance, counterfeit prescription drugs, funeral and cemetery costs, “anti-aging” products, investment schemes and reverse mortgages. Seniors are sometimes targeted on the internet but more often through telemarketing and door-to-door scams.
So how can you protect your senior or help them protect themselves from these conniving scammers? We put together a baseline list of things to keep in mind:
- Be wary of unsolicited goods or services.
- Do not pay for services in advance.
- Be careful of individuals who pressure you to make an immediate decision.
- Do not sign anything that you do not fully understand.
- Be cautious of sweepstakes or prizes that you did not sign up for.
- If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Shop around before making a big purchase.
- Stay up to date on the scams that are trending, so you can recognize a scam faster.
So what is the biggest mistake you can make? I’ll tell you! It’s the most common thought around: “That will never happen to me.”
There is a reason “better safe than sorry” is such a well known cliché. And in this situation, they’re words to live by.
Have you ever experienced a scam-in-action? How did you protect yourself?