Avoiding Common Scams Aimed at Seniors

The County of San Diego handles an estimated 9,000 cases of elder abuse annually. If that many cases are reported, how many elder abuse situations are going unreported? Abuse can happen in many forms, including physical, financial, sexual, emotional, and more. Victims might be living in silence, with family and friends unaware that problems are occurring.

The Elderly are Targets for Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is one of the most common forms of elder abuse. Predators know that older adults have access to retirement funds and ongoing paychecks. Unfortunately, scammers are looking for ways to tap into these resources and take advantage of people who might unknowingly hand over financial information.

Older adults are vulnerable because they are often too trusting of other people. A phone call, mailer, or a conversation on the doorstep with a stranger might seem like a harmless situation. But, the stranger can build trust with the person and then take advantage of them financially.

To make matters worse, family members might also be the perpetrators. For example, children or grandchildren might steal money or valuables like jewelry, rationalizing that they would have received these assets as an inheritance eventually. When people are in desperate circumstances, the risk increases that they will take advantage of another person.

Common Types of Senior Scams

To protect yourself, your loved ones, and/or clients from being “easy targets,” you can take a few easy steps.  Jewelry theft is extremely common, in both home and facility settings, so take the time to photograph valuables and lock them up.  Buy a shredder and ensure that any paperwork with your Social Security number, financial information, or other identifying information is shredded to protect against identify theft. If you need caregiver help, work with a licensed, reputable home care agency that screens and oversees its staff. And, be aware of the common financial scams that are going around right now:

  • Sweepstakes mail, causing the victim to hand over financial information to receive their prize
  • Investment schemes, draining a victim’s retirement account
  • Sales-Pitch luncheons, free lunch to pull people into a high-pressure sales environment
  • Fake IRS calls, misleading people to think that they are in trouble with the IRS
  • Grandparent scams, phone calls that trick older adults to provide payment because they think that a grandchild is in trouble

If you want to keep your family protected, then download this elder abuse prevention toolkit provided by San Diego County. Also, talk to our team at Windward Life Care to find other professional services that can help.