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Financial Elder Abuse: 10 Common Scams That Prey Upon the Elderly

by John Gomez | Last Updated: October 13, 2016
Financial Elder Abuse

People who have spent several decades living life as best they could deserve to be cared for properly.  The last thing people in this age group deserve is to be mistreated in any way.  Dignity, safety and good health are things that we all deserve, regardless of age.  Sadly, older people are exploited and mistreated with alarming frequency in the United States.  Elderly people are mistreated in many different ways.  One of the one of the most common occurs in the form of financial elder abuse.  This problem is spreading quickly.  Advocacy organizations, governmental entities and private citizens work tirelessly to bring about awareness regarding financial elder abuse.  We’d like to help do the same.  You’ll find 10 common scams that tend to be directed at elderly people below.

10 Common Financial Elder Abuse Scams

The National Adult Protective Services Association, or NAPSA, provides a lot of information regarding elder abuse in general.  This information includes financial elder abuse.  Below are 10 common scams, and those who want to see the entire list can find it here.

  1. Lottery/sweepstakes scams – This is a scam that involves having to send money to “cover the taxes” in order to collect the winnings.
  2. Charity scams – People are convinced to donate to charities, particularly after disasters.
  3. Telemarketing scams – People are threatened with legal action based on an “old bill” that they supposedly owe.
  4. Home repair/improvement scams – People “happen to be in the area” and can complete work on one’s home quickly and cheaply.
  5. Grandparent scams – Targets are told their grandchild is in prison/in trouble and they need money as soon as possible.
  6. Predatory lending – Older people are forced to endure high-pressure sales tactics in order to take out loans or mortgages.
  7. Identity theft – Targets are fooled into providing personal information, which is then used to open credit accounts.
  8. Internet phishing – Scams where older people are targeted via email and told that if they send money, they can obtain more money in return.
  9. Investment schemes – Seniors are sold on scam investments that are basically pyramid schemes and never recapture their initial investment.
  10. In-home care provider scams – Targets allow in-home care providers access to their financial information or credit cards, which are then used fraudulently.

How To Help Avoid Financial Elder Abuse

MetLife conducted a study on financial elder abuse in 2011.  It found that financial elder abuse leads to nearly $3 billion in losses per year.  Therefore, this is an enormous problem.  The best way to help a loved one avoid this terrible situation is by setting up a protective system.  This system basically results in no one having full authority to conduct financial transactions.  If an in-home caregiver needs access to a credit card to purchase groceries, that credit card statement should be reviewed by someone else every month.  If a salesperson knocks on the door or calls, he or she should be told to speak to a designated third party.

This may not be easy, as no one likes to feel as though they are giving up their independence.  However, these simple steps may help avoid disastrous losses as well as embarrassment and suffering.  If you or a loved one has been the target of this type of conduct, contact the elder abuse lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation.

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