Less honest members of our society are always looking for a weak target, an easy source of income. Unfortunately, many of these weak targets are those near and dear to us, our elderly loved ones. If you are caring for an elderly loved one, it is imperative that you keep on the lookout for scammers that prey on elderly members of society. Here is a sampling of a few of the scams that elderly loved ones may fall prey to.
Prize money scam – These scammers write or call elders and tell them that they have won amazing amounts of money (usually through an offshore lottery). All they have to do to claim their prize is provide a certain amount of money for the taxes.
“Selling” goods to seniors – These scams typically offer seniors goods at a drastically reduced rate. After the money has been paid, the goods provided turn out to be junk or they never show up.
Overpriced goods – A similar scam offers seniors goods they feel they need for their comfort and safety. The scammers claim that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and then charge exorbitant amounts for their goods or services.
Unsolicited home repairs – Scammers will sometimes approach a senior stating that they noticed the home needed repairs. After demanding money upfront the scammers will either do a shoddy job or leave without doing anything.
Fraudulent legal documents – Sometimes scammers will provide fraudulent documents that claim they have a right to property, possessions, or money from an elderly individual.
Offers of love or safety – This is a longer operation. Scammers worm their way into an elderly individual’s life. As a “relationship” grows, these scammers request/demand access to more and more of the senior’s accounts and information, claiming a desire to protect them. These scams can be devastating.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of eldercare fraud. As one method gets regulated, several others emerge. The best protection from eldercare fraud is diligence of those nearest and dearest to the elder.