Preventative Measures of Scam for the Elderly

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Before the universal occurrence of online scams, senior citizens had already been victims of other con tricks via phone calls or face-to-face.  It is highly unjust for the elderly to lose their entire life savings and hard-earned assets due to fraud.  The cost of loss each year for senior citizens alone reaches up to $328 million. 

Con artists target the elderly regardless of their economic status –the scam problem spans all income levels. This being said, scammers do not exempt the elderly population with average savings to be one of their victims.

There are many considerations to watch out for involving financial abuse. They often come in many forms –some are easier to spot, while others are more difficult. The good news is: there are many preventive ways to combat scams that target the elderly. Let’s explore them below to support our older relatives in making sound decisions for financial security. 

  • Phone Call Scams - Possibly the most common scam to take note of are phone calls or door-to-door schemes involving impersonators asking for immediate assistance. The story normally revolves around an emergency that needs money transferred as urgently as possible. 

How to Avoid Falling Victim for the Scam: 

  1. Ask an identifying question that your grandchild would know. If the caller is truly your family member, they would easily be able to answer a personal question.

  2. Ask for a number to call back. Privately reach out to the parent or other known relative to verify if the phone number of the caller is correctly theirs. 

  3. If the scam seems obvious –hang up the phone call. Ignoring them is a sure way to avoid being involved in the scam. 

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  • Telemarketing Fraud - Another common scam is from telemarketers naming bogus companies to sell a product. Oftentimes, it turns out to be part of a pyramid scheme or

payments made are not only one time but to a subscription charge every month. 

How to Avoid: 

  1. Thoroughly research whether the company is legitimate. Secure websites have a lock button on the search bar and do not contain unofficial looking content. If there are basic errors like spelling and grammar, this is often a red flag to avoid.

  2. Obtain a salesperson’s personal information. Asking for their name, position, or company address can set them off guard. If they are legitimate salespeople –there wouldn’t be an issue of hesitation. You may even lookup the company on Google right on the spot to verify. 

  3. Be aware of the latest phishing schemes sent to your phone or email. They often market free prizes and great deals to lure you into clicking on an attached link. Mark the message as spam and block any unreliable source.

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  • Investment Fraud - Financial fraud comes in various forms. They commonly involve false investment opportunities. Con artists may pose as insurance agents selling fake insurance premiums to pocket the money or pose as bank tellers to gain access to your personal information. 

How to Avoid: 

  1. Contact legitimate advisors. Most fool-proof investments are done with the assistance of financial advisors. Having their guidance and expertise when making new investments can help save thousands of dollars being pocketed. 

  2. Increase the step verification process. Activating extra verification steps for your credit card or insurance policy while using it can help ensure less fraudulent cases to occur without notice. 

  3. Never give away specific information online. If a proxy is needed to carry out errands, make sure not to give specifics –like credit card numbers or other information online. 

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Senior citizens are one of the most susceptible targets for different scamming tricks. Through awareness and help from other family members, it can guide them in making smart decisions when it comes to finance. Extra precautionary measures may prevent financial abuse from external parties to take place, allowing the elderly to retire peacefully.  


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