Scams Targeting the Elderly

We are all inundated with those annoying robocalls and unwanted telemarketer solicitations, and even though it may seem simple enough to avoid falling prey to a scammer, it is actually quite simple to get taken in by what seems like a plausible scenario – especially for older adults. As a matter of fact, an astounding $36 billion is scammed from aging adults each year, and in most cases these funds are unrecoverable, consuming a lifetime of savings and leaving older adults in financial distress.

The FBI wants us to be familiar with the top three scams targeting the elderly and the tips to help keep the older adults we love safe.

The Miracle Cure

When diagnosed with a chronic health problem, looking for a cure or effective treatment option is a high concern – something scammers are now using for their advantage by touting “miracle” cures that might actually do more harm than good, both to a senior’s health and wallet. These tips will help:

  • First of all, under no circumstances take any medications, even over-the-counter meds, vitamins, or supplements, without having the doctor’s approval.
  • Deceptive marketing and advertising and too-good-to-be-true promises, especially in conjunction with a high-profile recommendation, are reason for suspicion – particularly those promoted as a “cure” with no detrimental side effects.
  • When in question, seek the advice of the Better Business Bureau and/or the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to determine if any grievances 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, leaving older adults vulnerable to people who wish to take advantage of them. When organizing a funeral, the following details are good to be aware of:

  • Senior citizens should always have a reliable member of the family or friend with them while making final arrangements for a loved one.
  • Price-shop by telephone before deciding on a funeral home, because they are mandated by law to give you pricing.
  • Purchase of either a casket or embalming isn’t needed for cremations – add-ons which may cost a senior loved one thousands of extra and unnecessary funds.
  • Examine agreements meticulously prior to signing anything.

Telemarketer Tips

Telemarketers love to focus on seniors, who may be lonely and take pleasure in participating in a conversation with them, and who may well not recognize their scam practices. Beware of:

  • “Free” rewards that involve a small fee to be paid for any reason.
  • A request for credit card or other personal/financial information from anybody who is unknown.
  • Pressure to decide instantly about a purchase.
  • Services that need payment ahead of time.

Grace Home Care , the Topeka Alzheimer’s care families trust, will help protect seniors from scams such as these, by providing regular, ongoing, trusted companionship, and by serving as a resource to empower older adults to be aware and cautious about the possibility for fraud. Give us a call at 785-286-2273 for more information about our top-rated home care services.