Seniors make up a very vulnerable demographic. That’s because most aging adults are inherently trusting. They are also less able to research the different things that people tell them. As a result, many seniors are being conned by scheming, unethical parties who want access to their money, their personal information or their property deeds. Following are three scams that seniors and their loved ones need to beware of along with tips for keeping your family member safe.
A Loved One In Need Scam
Some people have taken to calling elderly adults on their home phones while posing as grandchildren or other family members who are in desperate need of help. These individuals cite personal emergencies that require them to have large sums of money wired or sent right away. Although most aging adults subsist entirely on fixed and limited incomes, they are often more than happy to help. They certainly don’t want to see their relatives go without. This is one of the most hurtful scams out there given that it preys on a senior’s desire to assist family members, feel valued and valuable and maintain some role as a provider, rather than always being in need of assistance themselves. Once any money has been sent, however, it cannot be retrieved and sadly, seniors often find that they weren’t sending cash to their own family members at all.
To help your aging relative avoid scams like these, ask him or her to talk with you before giving money away. This way, you can discuss the pros and cons of this decision before any funds are lost. Even if a phone call from a down-and-out loved one turns out to be legit, seniors should be able to spend their own limited incomes all by themselves.
Online Pharmacies Scam
Another way in which seniors are being conned is by illegitimate, online “companies” that are posing as discount pharmacies. Prescription costs can be overwhelming for the elderly and thus, being able to buy essential medications at a mere fraction of their normal cost always sounds ideal. With these scams, no actual business exists. Once seniors share their personal and financial information during the process of completing a purchase, these things can be used to set up credit accounts, make charges and steal money in other ways. Seniors should always take great care when opting to purchase their prescriptions online. Although there are certainly legitimate and reputable pharmacies online, it is always important to screen web-based companies carefully. More often than not, if an online offer for discount drugs sounds too good to be true, that’s because it probably is.
Reverse Mortgages Scam
Reverse mortgages really do exist. This, however, doesn’t mean that these offers are in the best interests of elderly consumers. More importantly, it certainly doesn’t mean that everyone calling your aging loved one to offer these financial products is part of a licensed and legitimate organization. These scams are often aimed at collecting a senior’s personal and financial information, but they can also go quite a bit further by getting seniors to enter into legally binding arrangements involving their property deeds that can compromise their homeowner status.
Talk to your loved one about the importance of seeking qualified legal advice before entering into any real property transactions. Seniors are often eager to find ways to supplement their meager incomes. This, however, is rarely a move that is in their best interests. It is additionally vital to note that unethical parties can be forceful in their efforts to promote their offers and may even make seniors feel as though they are legally obligated to accept them. Always keep the lines of communication open. If your senior family member feels comfortable talking to you about phone conversations and financial offers that appear to be cause for concern, you’ll have the guaranteed opportunity to nip these scams in the bud before any money, assets or personal security is lost.Read more