Whether it’s for fraudulent lotteries or seemingly lucrative investments, seniors can make very easy targets for fraud. This fraud targeted on at-home seniors can happen either by phone, in person or online, although this is less likely since there are fewer seniors online.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, studies show that con artists are increasingly targeting seniors who live alone, including those in Calabasas, because they believe seniors are more susceptible and malleable. In addition to having no one to consult, some seniors are available full time because they’re retired. They always answer their phone and possibly fall prey to fishy medical scams, sweepstake draws and questionable subscriptions.
As expected, cases of fraud in seniors who reside in homes for the elderly and those with a decent degree of in-home care are minimal. If you won’t hire an excellent senior care provider, it pays to know how to spot a con artist. Here’s how to identify the most common types of senior fraud in Calabasas and how to prevent them.
By far the most common type of senior fraud, phone cons do not require any internet connection or subscription to get you. Basically, fraudulent telemarketers try to extract money and personal information by feeding seniors one tale or another. Some of the most basic techniques used include:
– Hype – The phone telemarketer calls up seniors screaming and hollering excitedly about a big prize. More often than not, the prize is usually too damn good to pass up, so most seniors will get hooked.
– High Up – The fraudulent telemarketer then passes on your call to their so-called bosses so that you believe the offer is valid and legitimate. By this point, most lonely seniors believe the story.
– Reciprocity – At this point, the caller will explain to the lucky Calabasas senior that if they want their prize, they will have to pay some handling and shipping fees or something of the sort. It’s usually a small fee that most seniors can afford, especially with the incredible prize at stake.
As the person responsible for your aging parents’ senior care, it’s up to you to help them prevent all instances of fraud. To do this, just put a sticky note by their phone with the following rules for answering phone calls.
Rules for answering phone calls
a) Never give out personal info and details such as social security numbers or bank accounts to anyone unless you are the one who actually initiated the call and have reached the right people.
b) Never pay for unordered subscriptions, deliveries or charges that you do not understand.
c) Do not entertain any limited offers that require you to pay on the spot, tell them you will call them back after you think about it.
d) If a caller does not explain all details in a way you understand, always ask for it in writing. Most importantly, consult your in-home caregivers or relatives and ask for their help.
While not all seniors have an active presence online, some seniors in Calabasas seem to be very tech savvy. This is why there have been more cases of mail fraud in the last few years than ever before. For this reason, it’s important that the senior care giver or an in-home care assistant monitor your loved one’s mail for any signs of fraud.
Look for any unsolicited emails talking about prizes, offers, and subscriptions. Once you spot signs of danger, encourage the seniors to automatically bin all those malicious emails without a second thought. Alternatively, you could set their computers to spam the emails so that they never even make it to the inbox.
Home repair fraud
Another trend that has become prevalent in Calabasas is targeting the elderly for home repairs. There have been cases where people show up and offer to fix your broken roof or plumbing without you even calling anyone. In addition to causing additional damage to your home, these repair fraudsters ask for hefty payments and can become rough if provoked. This is one of the chief reasons why most people are now opting to use in-home care services that cater for cleaning, maintenance, and companionship. The presence of these caregivers diminishes the chances that the senior will be defrauded like this. Make sure that your loved ones have a number or service that they can call if there is anything wrong with the house.
Educating our seniors about all the different types of frauds can go a long way towards giving them the ability to fight back. However, con artist bank on the fact that many seniors are forgetful and can fall for the same scam over and over again. As such, it’s always recommended that you take your aging members to a senior care facility if their failing memory makes them a target for fraudsters. Or you could at least hire an in-home care assistant to handle some of these issues for your loved ones.