Community Blog

How to Keep Your Senior Safe From Scam Phone Calls

By Vicki and Brian Day

In 2016, the number of seniors claiming they'd been contacted by scammers doubled over previous years. The Senate Aging Committee received more than 2,200 calls to its fraud line, including elderly callers who'd received fraudulent calls from scammers claiming to be agents with the IRS. Another common scam comes from callers claiming to be a grandchild who's been arrested and needs bail wired to a specific address ASAP. Seniors living at home are often more susceptible to scams if they are lonely and looking for someone to talk to.

While the government is doing all they can to crack down on scam calls, it's important for loved ones of seniors to take additional steps to educate and prevent a senior parent from falling for scams. Home care is one way to keep seniors from accepting scam calls, but home care is not the only way.

Don't Answer Phone Calls From Unknown Callers

One of the easiest ways to avoid scam calls is to stop answering the phone. Family caregivers should invest in phones with caller ID technology if they're not already in the home. Program all family members into the phone to ensure their calls come in with their name clearly on display. If the senior or home care provider recognizes the name, the call can be answered. If not, let the phone ring.

Know It's Okay to Say No

Seniors receiving home care must be taught that it's okay to demand information to be mailed. If a call is answered and the scammer insists a credit card or Social Security number be given at that very moment, it's important for a senior to know he or she can refuse. It's fine to ask for information to be mailed to the home. It's even better to state that the homeowner wants to show the information to a financial adviser or attorney first. Most scammers will immediately hang up and not bother to call again.

Visit an Aging Parent Regularly

Children with an aging parent in home care should check in with the home care provider a few times a week and visit at least weekly. During this visit, it's beneficial for the family caregiver to look at the call history and research unknown numbers. If any scams are in the history, blocking those numbers can help cut down on repeat calls. It's also a good time to report any of these numbers to the government. The more information the report contains, the better a chance of the FTC investigating the unsolicited call.

Sources:

https://www.aging.senate.gov/press-releases/senate-aging-committee-announces-top-scams-targeting-nations-seniors-in-2016
https://www.aging.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Fraud%20Book%202017.pdf
https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx?panel=2

IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING HOME CARE IN SLATINGTON, PA, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT HOME HELPERS. CALL TODAY! (610) 365-4266.