Posted on Dec 09, 2013
Some scam artists will not waste any time in calling up a senior citizen. In fact, they like to show up at the home of their intended victim, even without calling beforehand. They are the “upfront” or the more desperate type of scammer. They will scout your neighborhood, stop and talk with older seniors who are walking alone, or sitting on their front porch. They are not your typical door to door salesman from thirty or forty years ago.
How many times in the past did we not hear a family member or a friend say, “I bought the darn vacuum cleaner because that was the only way to get the salesman out of the house.” Current scam cases involve more than just a pushy salesman trying to meet a monthly sales quota. Door to door scams against the elderly are nefarious, deliberate, and dangerous.
Two recent cases in Central Florida, one in Belle Isle and the other in Maitland, involved older seniors being scammed for yard work never performed or for work that was never needed. In one of the cases, an elderly couple paid in excess of $30,000. In the second case, the victim was out of more than $19,000 in less than a month.
Some unctuous swindlers are adept at gaining the confidence of frail and lonely seniors. Scam artists know which neighborhoods have large senior populations. Moreover, some keep an eye on death notices, and also scout for information from other seniors in the neighborhood.
Rule # 1 - Never allow a door to door sales person in your home unless you have found a way to verify who they are or what their business is about beforehand. Wearing a company uniform does not mean much nowadays. If they do come to your home and you have verified their credentials, make sure you have a couple friends come over, too!
Rule #2 - Never sign any contracts without reading these carefully. Always call an attorney if you are concerned about the contract and the wording. Give yourself sometime to think it over. Watch out if the salesperson gets too pushy. That’s a red flag.
Rule # 3 -The best rule of all is to never engage!
Rule # 4 - Never answer the door, if you do not know the person. If the person keeps knocking on the door, call your local law enforcement agency. Stay on the line with the dispatcher, give your full address, and phone number and listen carefully to their instructions.
Always let someone know about your concerns. Also, seek advice from a local Elder Law attorney if you are concerned about fraud. And always call your local law-enforcement agencies in Central Florida.
By Ana P. Delane
Senior Helpers of Orlando Team Member