These days it seems that robocalls are just a part of daily life that we have to contend with. While it might seem easy to you and I to read through the calls and emails that are obvious scams, it’s not always so easy for seniors. They may not deal with technology enough to recognize when something is nefarious. This is precisely why scammers prey on older adults more than anyone else! Billions of dollars are lost each year due to these scams, much of it unrecoverable.
The FBI has reached out to educate Americans about some of the most common financial scams that seniors may find themselves falling victim to. Read on to learn more!
The Miracle Cure
Seniors already feel vulnerable when they have been diagnosed with a chronic or long-term health condition. It can leave them desperate for a cure, and one of the most common scams on seniors today is the “miracle cure” scams. Here are a few tips to help:
- Most important of all, never take anything that did not come from the treating physician! Even if it’s a supplement bought in a place that feels safe, advertising can be very misleading with outrageous claims that do nothing more than extract your senior’s hard-earned money.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Promises of a cure or a life without sickness are enticing, especially if it’s endorsed by a celebrity. But that alone should cause you to pause and be suspicious. Celebrities are paid large amounts of money to say whatever the manufacturer wants them to say!
- If you aren’t sure, contact the BBB (Better Business Bureau). The Food and Drug Administration is very careful about what is approved to be sold, and many scammers will continue on with their products, even if the FDA has not approved it. If the BBB has had complaints before on a certain product, you should steer clear!
Final Wishes Fraud
You’ve probably noticed all the commercials these days from companies who claim to help you plan for your final wishes. This is an emotional decision for anyone and therefore can leave seniors who may be grieving a loss, vulnerable to be taken advantage of. Here is what you should know any time you are planning funeral arrangements:
- Never do it by yourself! Seniors should always have another trusted family member with them when making final
- Call several funeral homes before going to meet with them. By law, they are mandated to give you the pricing over the phone.
- If you have chosen cremation, it is NOT necessary to purchase a casket. It is also not necessary to pay for embalming in that case. Both of those things can add huge amounts of money to the grand total and should not be forced upon you!
- Never sign any contracts without taking the time to read through and ask questions, and make sure you understand what you’re signing. If possible, have a trusted friend or family member look at it with you.
Telemarketers prey on seniors, who are often lonely and enjoy engaging in conversation. Seniors may not be aware of common scam tactics such as:
- Rewards that are “free,” yet require a small fee to be able to receive it.
- Asking for a personal credit card or checking account information.
- Being pushy about a purchase—the scammer doesn’t want to lose the sale!
- Trying to sell services that require payment ahead of time.
Keep your senior loved ones safe by talking to them often about who calls, the mail they receive, and talk openly and often! Scammers often think older adults are not smart enough to know the difference, but you can help your loved one know what to look out for in this world of greedy scammers!
For more info on detecting scams among the elderly, please contact us today!
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