NJ Senior Care Blog

Seniors: Beware of These 5 Financial Scams

 

 

Financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse. In fact, according to the Special Committee on Aging, people over the age of 65 are scammed out of billions of dollars each year. As Baby Boomers continue to age, senior financial scams will only increase.

 

A significant number of these senior-focused scams are perpetrated by the senior’s family members or acquaintances. However, scams perpetrated by strangers or organizations can have a larger financial impact. 

 

Many seniors refuse to report financial abuse, due to embarrassment or fear that their money will be more tightly controlled by family members. However, it’s important to watch for signs that you or a senior loved one is being scammed or financially manipulated. With the right information, you can help protect against financial elder abuse. 


Key ways to protect against senior scams: 

5 Most Common Financial Scams

According to the National Council on Aging, there are several scams that seniors are especially vulnerable to: 

  • Medicare scams. People or companies claiming to be representatives of Medicare can contact a senior and convince them to provide personal information, including Social Security numbers, to qualify for Medicare or to continue Medicare coverage.
  • Grandparent scams. Older people with grandchildren or young relatives may be susceptible to grandparent scams. Con artists may call or email a senior, posing as a family member in distress and asking to send funds, usually via a wire transfer.
  •  Counterfeit prescription drugs. Many seniors use the Internet to find more affordable prescription medications. Unfortunately, many of them fall victim to scammers who sell them counterfeit prescription drugs that are often fake.
  •  Internet/email scams. Many scammers take advantage of seniors who aren’t Internet savvy by convincing them to download dangerous anti-virus software. Others convince seniors to send money in order to keep their email address or computer from being shut down; they may pose as tech support from Microsoft or other legitimate company.
  •  Telemarketing scams. Phone scammers often target seniors. They often sell fake vitamins, anti-aging products, or healthcare items. Others peddle get-rich-quick schemes, contests, and luxury vacations--all for a fee. 

Watch for Warning Signs of Elder Financial Abuse

If you suspect a senior is the target of financial scammers, it’s important to watch for warning signs. 


Keep your eye out for any of the following behaviors:

  • An increase in solicitations, financial “opportunities,” contests, or sweepstakes mail
  • New checking accounts or credit card accounts being opened 
  • A new acquaintance or friend being trusted with financial information, errands, or decisions
  • Switching from a basic bank account to one with complicated features or fee structures
  • Strange attempts to wire transfer money
  • Sudden insufficient funds notices
  • Unpaid bills

Have regular conversations with older loved ones about their finances. Remind them never to give out their Social Security or bank information. Educate them about identity theft threats, especially those perpetrated online. 

Set Up Financial Safeguards

If  a senior loved one has fallen victim to financial scammers, it might be time to set up protections:

  • Help them set up blocks on solicitous emails or paper mail. 
  • Discuss setting a withdrawal limit on your loved one’s debit card. 
  • Do your research on senior financial abuse, fraud and scams
  •  Make sure your loved one has account oversight with a bank that is paying attention. Learn more here.

Prevent Senior Isolation

Seniors who are isolated or cognitively impaired are more likely to become victims of financial abuse, so it’s very important to stay in regular contact with a vulnerable senior loved one.

If you are considering hiring in-home care services, carefully research such companies before hiring them. Choose only reputable in-home senior care agencies who have a thorough vetting process. Visiting Angels of Mercer and Burlington Counties, NJ only hires care Certified Home Health Aide professionals who pass a thorough hiring process, including state and federal background checks, verification of previous employment, and reference checks. If you’re seeking home care services for a senior loved one, contact Visiting Angels today.

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.