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Fraud on Seniors: Financial Crimes Against the Elderly to Watch Out For

Financial crimes against the elderly happen more often than you think — and you and your loved ones need to stay vigilant. They often go unreported though because those who belong to this older generation were raised to be polite, kind, and financially responsible. So when fraud on seniors happens to them, they often blame themselves or don’t think that anyone would believe them. Some seniors may even worry that if anyone finds out, they might assume that they have dementia or can’t handle their financial responsibilities anymore.

On top of this, the scammers who are trying to commit these scams often change up the methods that they use, making it difficult to track them. That is why the best way to help prevent this from happening to the elderly is to be aware of some of the following scams that are used to purposefully target them.

Fake Products Scam

One common telemarketer scam that is used in fraud on seniors is to try to sell them fake products over the phone, which are usually related to improving the health, increasing energy and vitality, or curing cancer. Sometimes, they might receive something in the mail, such as a bottle of useless pills. However, more often than not, the victim doesn’t get anything at all. In the meantime, the scammer has their credit card or bank account information, and they have used it to withdraw funds or rack up charges for their own personal gain.

Long-Lost Relatives Scam

Elderly woman on the phone with a potential scammer

Some seniors unknowingly get trapped in fraud against elderly because of this common phishing scam. First, the target receives an e-mail asking them for basic information about themselves as part of a survey for coupons or a job offer. But the information that the scammers ask for includes the names of relatives that the person has, such as their spouse or children. Then, the scammers use this information to get access to other names of

more distant relatives. Finally, they send the senior citizen a request for money from one of the supposed long-lost relatives who they don’t think that they have had any recent contact with. In the e-mail or letter, they often mention that if a certain amount of money isn’t sent to them, then harm may come to the relative. Sometimes, the threats come over the phone too.

IRS Scams

One major fraud against elderly people that has become more prevalent in recent years is this IRS scam. What happens is that an elderly person will receive a phone call from someone who claims that they are from the IRS. The scammer tells them that they owe back taxes, and if they don’t pay a specific amount of money over the phone immediately, then they will go to jail. There is another similar version of this scam where senior citizens are called by a scammer claiming to work for the county clerk of courts too. In this alternative scenario, they say that the senior citizen owes overdue court fines though.

Replacement Medicare Card Scam

Whenever the new Medicare cards began being changed over to show a different identification number than a person’s social security number, scammers started to take advantage of this by sending out letters as part of a type of fraud against elderly in which senior citizens are asked to send money if they want to get their new cards in the mail. The cards are free though. No one is ever expected to pay a penny to get them even if they lose the one that they already had issued to them.

Prize Scams

Everyone loves getting something for free or a low cost. That’s what makes this scam so successful. In this scheme, the senior citizen who is normally very frugal gets an offer for a free flat-screen television or another prize just by paying a small fee. They are often eager to take it because it seems that it will help them save money. Unfortunately, after they send out the requested payment in this type of fraud on seniors, they never get anything in return though. And, on top of this, the scammer has their bank account or credit card information too.

Romance and Friendship Scams

The last type of fraud on seniors used by scammers is the cruelest because it plays on the fact that most elderly people are often lonely because they struggle to get out of the house as much as they used to. So, one day, they get a phone call or an e-mail from someone who strikes up a conversation with them. If the senior citizen bites by continuing to talk to them, then the scammer will begin trying to lure them into a fake romance or friendship. After some time has passed by, the scammer will ask for money for a supposed emergency that doesn’t really exist. They might also say that they need the money in order to go visit the senior citizen who they are targeting in the fraud against elderly scam. No one ever shows up after the money is sent, though. Furthermore, the scammer immediately cuts off contact with their fraud against victim once they get the payment, so it is difficult to track them.

This is just a short list of some of the possible types of fraud on seniors that scammers use. If you or someone you know has been a target of any type of fraud against elderly, be sure to contact your local police department right away to report it. And remember, the best way to prevent fraud against elderly from happening is to stay informed on all of the different types of financial crimes against the elderly that are out there.

By Your Side In-Home Caregivers in York and Lancaster County PA

While By Your Side caregivers are not specifically trained to help an elderly person avoid fraud, they can provide a good second perspective on one of these offers. In addition, since some of these scams play on the fact that the intended victims are lonely, the companionship of a By Your Side caregiver can help. Our caregivers provide the all of the service to make aging-in-place a more comfortable and more satisfying. Take our quiz or contact us today to learn if in-home care is right for your loved one.


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