Senior Citizen Fraud

We’re all overloaded with those aggravating robocalls and unwanted telemarketer solicitations, even though it might seem simple enough to prevent falling prey to a scammer, it’s actually rather easy to become pulled in to what appears to be a credible scenario – especially for senior loved ones. In fact, an astounding $36 billion is scammed from the elderly each year, and frequently these funds are unrecoverable, consuming a lifetime of savings and leaving older adults in financial distress.

The FBI wants us to be aware of these common senior citizen fraud and scam techniques so that our loved ones are safe.

The Miracle Cure

When informed they have a long-term medical condition, tracking down a cure or effective treatment option is a high priority – something scammers are now utilizing to their advantage by offering “miracle” cures which could actually do more harm than good, both to a senior’s health and wallet. These tips will help:

  • Most importantly, do not take any medications, even over-the-counter meds, vitamins, or supplements, without the doctor’s approval.
  • Misleading marketing and advertising and too-good-to-be-true promises, specifically in conjunction with a high-profile recommendation, are reason for suspicion – especially those touted as a “cure” with no adverse side effects.
  • When in doubt, check with the Better Business Bureau and/or the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to ascertain if any complaints have been lodged against the seller or about the product or service.

Final Wishes Fraud

Making funeral arrangements for a family member is an emotionally-wrought time, causing aging parents to be vulnerable to people who wish to take advantage of them. When planning a funeral, the following information is important to be aware of:

  • Seniors should always have a trusted relative or friend along with them while making final arrangements for a loved one.
  • Price-shop by telephone prior to selecting a funeral home, as they are required by law to supply pricing.
  • Purchase of either a casket or embalming is never needed for cremations – add-ons which may cost a senior loved one countless extra and unnecessary funds.
  • Review agreements extensively prior to signing anything.

Telemarketer Tips

Telemarketers love to focus on the elderly, who may be lonely and take pleasure in engaging in a conversation with them, and who may well not realize their scam techniques. Watch out for:

  • “Free” prizes which require a small fee to be paid for any reason.
  • A request for bank card or any other personal/financial information from anybody who is unknown.
  • Pressure to decide at once about a purchase.
  • Services that need payment upfront.

Live Free Home Health Care, providers of the respite care Bristol families trust, will help protect aging parents from scams just like these, by providing regular, ongoing, trusted companionship, and by serving as a resource to help older adults to be aware and wary of the possibility for fraud. Email or call us at 603-217-0149 for more information about our home care services.