Financial scams which target seniors are always on the rise. Thieves target seniors for many reasons including:
- Seniors are more likely to have their home, a “nest egg” and excellent credit.
- They often make for a poor witness, especially if they have bad memory.
- The older generation was generally raised to be polite and trusting, which are traits con artists like to exploit.
- They are less likely to report a scam due to feeling ashamed or not even being aware they have been scammed.
Common elderly scams involve:
- Cemetery and Funeral Scams
- Counterfeit Prescription Drugs
- Fraudulent Anti-Aging Products
- Health Insurance/Medicare Scams
- Homeowner/Reverse Mortgage Scams
- Internet Fraud
- Investment Schemes
- Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams
Monitor Financial Health
It is important to monitor your loved one’s finances and credit reports to watch out for any potential fraud.
Credit reports from the three major agencies should be monitored: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. A free credit report is available yearly, but you can always do it more often if able. Look over the credit report for consistency, close out accounts which are no longer used, read each report and locate any information that doesn’t seem accurate. If your loved one no longer manages their finances it might be a good idea to place a credit freeze through the reporting agencies.
Carefully review all of your loved one’s accounts by looking over income and expenses. Make sure all income is accounted for and all of the necessary expenses are taken care of. Be watchful of items which look fraudulent. This should be done not only for bank accounts but all credit card accounts.
Too often financial scams go unreported, follow the steps above to monitor your loved ones finances and if they are thought to be a victim of fraud seek help. The United States Special Committee on Aging provides resources and information on fraud and if you suspect fraud you can contact them.