Mary Alexander: Hi! I am Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care. Today I am talking about scams and fraud and how to help your senior loved one from becoming a victim.
We've all heard the stories, neighbors of vulnerable seniors who take cash for projects that go unfinished or never are completed. Or a call for a donation that goes to a non-existent charitable group or internet and email scams that have ongoing charges for products that never arrive.
Older adults are targeted for several reasons, including isolation, fewer family and friends to watch out for them, health issues, possesses money and assets are unfamiliar with financial matters or they have a relative with a substance abuse problem.
Scams take a tremendous financial and emotional toll on seniors. The 2011 MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse found the annual financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse is estimated to be at least 2.
9 billion dollars, a 12% increase over 2008.
The study also noted that elder financial abuse also creates health care inequities, fractures families and increases rates of mental health issues among elders. These scams they say happen for three reasons.
First is a crime evocation because the victim is in the way of what the perpetrator wants. Second is a crime of desperation, usually because someone needs money. And the third is a crime of predation, someone who develops trust for the sole purpose of financial abuse.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation lists several common scams that you should watch out for. They are health care or health insurance fraud, counterfeit prescription drugs, funeral and cemetery fraud, fraudulent anti-aging products, telemarketing fraud, internet fraud, investment schemes and reverse mortgage scams.
To help prevent fraud they suggest using direct deposit, signing up for do not call list, ask for everything in writing. Don't share any vital information. Shred documents, avoid direct mail and email offers, and find friends and family who can be trusted to help.
Lastly, if your senior loved one does become a victim of a scam, contact your local law enforcement agency. You can also give anonymous tips and file complaints at fbi.