It’s a sad fact of life that seniors are often the first target for fraudulent behavior. At Visiting Angels, our in-home care providers have heard countless stories – all of them distressing – about the ways in which people prey on seniors.
No doubt, you’ve heard many of these stories yourself. If you have a senior in your life whose innate trust or cognitive problems make them vulnerable to fraudulent behavior, you’ll want to protect them from being preyed on. In many cases, that’s where an in-home care provider comes in. In-home care professionals, such as those at Visiting Angels, are often able to help spot and prevent fraudulent behavior.
While you may be most concerned about predatory scams, these scams represent just one of three main types of senior fraud. An in-home care provider offers a set of experienced eyes to keep a lookout for all three.
There are a number of common scams directed at seniors. These scams are sometimes carried out by amateurs. Other times, they’re made by career criminals. In either case, these are people who actively seek out seniors they don’t know, targeting them with fraudulent behavior.
Scammers frequently steal or recycle each other’s methods. For in-home care providers, this means that there are usually signs to watch out for. Many of these scams involve forcing an isolated senior (such as a senior receiving a phone call alone at home) to make a quick decision without the help of a second opinion. With an in-home care provider around, your loved one has someone to turn to for advice, making it easier to shut down scammers.
Crimes of Desperation
The second type of senior fraud is the crime of desperation. Typically, this is a family member who is suffering financial difficulties. They may see money within the family and view it as the quickest solution to debt or cash flow problems.
Crimes of desperation often go undetected because family members rarely suspect one of their own. This makes it easy for you and those around you to miss obvious warning signs. Often, an outside pair of eyes, like those offered by your loved one’s in-home care provider, make it possible to spot these signs and put a stop to exploitive behavior.
Crimes of Opportunity
In addition to larger frauds – like predatory scams and crimes of desperation – there are also smaller forms of senior fraud. For instance, if your loved one is buying a car, the salesperson may realize that he or she can include an unnecessary add-on in the contract without it being noticed.
In-home care providers from Visiting Angels often accompany seniors outside the home. Simply having someone else there is usually enough to deter crimes of opportunity, which are usually seat-of-the-pants decisions by the fraudster.