Community Blog

Speak to Seniors about Scams, Schemes and Scares

By Debbie Humphrey

I had an experience recently that served as a reminder of the caution that must be exercised when it comes to seniors and fraud. I made a call to the IRS recently, which required I wait on hold for more than an hour. Intermittent messages warned that the IRS  would never call me, ask for payment over the phone, or request prepaid gift cards. If I get a call like that, it is a scam. More and more, I find myself questioning the motives of people, and I am saddened that so many aging adults are hurt financially because of the scoundrels.

It’s unfortunate that in this day and age, there are more and more ways tricksters across the globe have the means to deceive others through fraud and theft, particularly the elderly. This is a serious situation that requires us to speak to seniors about scams, schemes and scares, even if it’s not Halloween.

We need to have the difficult conversations with our senior loved ones about the ill-will of others, and how they target the most vulnerable. After all, Grandma always sees the good in people and is quite trusting, which certainly makes her a prime target for deception.

Fraud can take the form of direct mail sweepstakes schemes, phone calls with threats, or maybe prizes that require money to claim; or strangers who personally visit the home to take advantage of a generous, trusting elder. Parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles may think you’re patronizing them when you share this information, unless you lead the discussion with compassion, information, and care.

According to Caring Right at Home, seniors are often targeted because:

  • They were raised to be kind and polite, making it more difficult for them to say no. Aging adults need to know that even seemingly nice people sometimes have ulterior motives.
  • Seniors were taught to save their money and often have stashes of cash in savings and retirement accounts. Let your elderly loved ones know that scammers want access to their nest eggs, and it is vital they do not fall for their schemes to get it.
  • Seniors with memory loss or dementia are some of the most vulnerable. Discuss finding an in-home caregiver to answer calls. help with daily tasks, and serve as a gatekeeper of sorts.
  • Stranger Danger is real when seniors live alone or are isolated, because they welcome a friendly face or voice. Companionship helps protect your senior loved one from being taken advantage of by those with evil intent.
  • Seniors aspire to leave a legacy through charitable contributions which can potentially lead to fraud. Discuss the reality that not everyone is deserving of their hard earned money.

“Understanding these factors can help you have a more productive conversation about fraud with an elderly loved one. Consider in-home care for companionship, supervision and transportation out and about. Helping your loved one be actively engaged in the community makes it less likely that they will engage a scammer, either on the phone or in person,” the Right at Home article explained.

Scams and schemes are an ever-present danger no matter what your age. However, the risks increase quadruple-fold with seniors, especially when they are lonely, isolated, frail, disabled, or suffer from memory loss or dementia. The elderly are easy prey for those up to no good and who will say or do just about anything to get what they want.

Home Helpers® provides non-medical, in-home care, including companionship, transportation assistance, and so much more. To schedule a FREE in-home consultation or receive more information about ways to protect the seniors you love, give me call. I am happy to help!

Home Helpers® is honored to have received the Provider of Choice 2017 & 2018 awards from Home Care Pulse, and we proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠  727.942.2539