How can a home caregiver help to protect their loved ones from scams?
An expert home caregiver may have seen elder abuse in the form of financial fraud. Financially abusing an elder is what happens when someone improperly or illegally uses money or other property that belongs to a vulnerable senior. There are now some states across the country that currently have laws in place that make elder financial abuse a crime; they also provide help to seniors and punish scammers.
You can become familiar with the most common scams and learn what you can do to help protect yourself and your loved one if you become suspicious of any foul play.
Why are seniors’ common targets of scams?
Many of the targets of scams are mainly considered to be in the naïve segment of the community. Unfortunately, seniors are the most targeted for scams. These scammers target seniors since they may be willing to listen, lonely, and are more trusting than younger people. Many of the schemes against seniors are done door-to-door, over the phone, and through advertisements. Seniors are considered prime targets to scams attributed to sweepstakes, credit cards, contests, health products, charities, home improvements, magazines, investments, equity skimming, insurance, and wire transfers or banking.
Common financial scams that take advantage of seniors
Here are the common scams to help your loved one to watch out for:
Scammers will call a senior pretending to be one of their grandchildren and ask a version of the question, “Do you know who this is?” When your loved one guesses a name, the scammer will then ask your loved one to send them some money through MoneyGram or Western Union to help pay for some emergency expense, such as overdue rent, a hospital bill, or car repairs. The scammer will also ask your loved one not to say anything to the grandchild’s parents.
Lottery and sweepstakes scam
Many people may be familiar with this simple scam as it takes advantage of the notion that “nothing in this world is free.” In this case, a scammer will let your loved one know that they have won sweepstakes or lottery of some sort, and they will need to make a payment to unlock the prize. Many times, your loved one may be sent a check to deposit in their bank account. While the funds may immediately appear in their bank account, it can take a few days for the fake check to be rejected. During these few days, the scammer will collect the money for the so-called taxes and fees on the prize, which they keep while your loved one has the “prize money” removed from their bank account as soon as the prize check bounces.
Health insurance and Medicare scam
This involves the scammer posing as a Medicare representative and asking your loved one for their personal information to receive discounted or free supplies or equipment through the mail. Your loved one will then submit a claim to their insurer for a product that was never delivered or unnecessary.
Steps to take if you suspect a financial senior scam
As a home caregiver, you should never be embarrassed or afraid to talk about a loved one being scammed with someone that you can trust. You’re not alone, there are people who can help you, and it will only become worse by doing nothing. Keep resources and phone numbers handy, including your loved one’s bank, local police, and adult protective services.
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