Con artists have been with us since biblical times. Two thousand years later, there are countless scams and everyone’s a target. Arguably, though, the most targeted group is senior citizens. The elderly, for a variety of reasons are more vulnerable than most.
My research on this topic uncovered several scams. It is not my intent to list each and every one, but rather list a few that may be better known than others . Afterward, I will list a few simple ways to protect against scam artists.
BEWARE of THESE:
- Relative in Distress;
- Repair and Contracting Scams;
- Telemarketing, Charity, Prize and Sweepstake Scams;
- Nigerian Letter or “419” Fraud;
- Identity Theft
- Know your relative’s friends;
- Don’t give out private information over the phone;
- Shred all mail and junk mail before throwing it away,
- If it’s too good to be true, it is.
The best prevention is plain ol’ common sense. Don’t give money to people you don’t know, give out personal information over the phone, or succumb to fraudulent letters asking for help. Most all my clients receive letters from different groups asking for help. One or two of these may be legitimate, but most are looking only to separate the Senior from their money. If you have an elderly friend or relative don’t be afraid to ask if they need help looking over their mail or if they’ve received phone calls soliciting money for different causes.
There are hundreds of scams and we all need to be on the lookout for those that are not legitimate. Just follow a few simple common sense rules and listen to your gut. If you think something is too good to be true, then listen to that small voice and hang up!