Elders Targeted on Frauds/Scams
Re-publishing an important reminder for families and adult caregivers. My mother was scammed both on the phone, and in person, and it resulted in thousands of dollars of mistakes….
Fraud targeting older adults has been called an epidemic — and that isn’t just a figure of speech. Seniors are defrauded of $2.9 billion of their money each year, which not only threatens their financial health, but also their physical health when they no longer have funds to pay for healthcare, housing and nutritious food. Many family caregivers are impacted as well, forced to step in to help their elderly loved ones financially when the money is suddenly gone.
Seniors are a prime target:
Why are seniors so often targeted by con artists? The FBI says a top reason is that many seniors have a “nest egg” — lifetime savings that is intended to support them during retirement, which presents a tempting target to crooks. The FBI also says that the elderly may be more trusting; raised to be polite, they’re less likely to just hang up when a con artist calls, allowing a smooth-talking scammer time on the phone to outline a fraudulent scheme. And fearing a loss of independence, our aging parents may hesitate to report that they’ve been defrauded, fearing that family will think they are incompetent.
Seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease and other memory and thinking problems are even more vulnerable to the wiles of con artists. Indeed, according to recent studies, falling prey to a scam might be one of the earliest signs that a senior is developing dementia. In a recently published study, it was noted that changes in “social judgment” might occur before any noticeable changes in thinking or memory.
Thieves not only target people with dementia, but also sell the names of these vulnerable victims to other thieves. The FBI says it’s hard to catch the thieves who target people with dementia, in part because these victims may not recall all the details of the scam.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164