It is estimated that more than $36 billions is lost due to elder abuse scams through financial exploitation, fraud, and criminal acts (AMAC 3.25.21). This article is intended to help you spot the types of crime and to help you be on the lookout for these manipulators. Here are a few frauds to watch for:

  • Reverse Mortgage Schemes
  • Telemarketing and internet Fraud
  • Healthcare Fraud
  • General Investment Schemes
  • Lottery Fraud
  • Grand Parent Scams to bail a child out of jail but needs to be kept secret.
  • Advanced fee fraud
  • Fraudulent Charity Schemes

Personally, I have received letters and emails informing me of inheritance. But to receive the money, I must pay a transfer fee. Another scheme I received was a letter asking me to accept $90,000 as a down payment and once deposited draft a check to pay someone $20,000. Others were to buy an asset of mine. They send a bogus money order, they come pick up your asset, but the check never clears, and I lose my asset.

Another personal example was for me to watch my client get scammed out of several thousand dollars from the Canadian lottery scheme. All I could do is report it. But it was ultimately her choice, and she did not have family to protect her. She sent them an initial amount because they told her she won $200,000 in the Canadian lottery and she needed to just send a small payment to cover exchange cost.  Then she sent more because there was a hang up, then she sent as much as $10,000 to get the final payment which she never received.

It is unfortunate to witness fraud like this which could ultimately be financially devastating.

Here are some tips on spotting elder fraud:

There are cases where the older adult is ashamed and does not want her family to find out because it may hinder her desire to stay independent. Looks for signs of embarrassment and unexplained loss of financial resources. Family members should be involved in looking for these signs by reviewing bank statements, brokerage statements and other financial recording statements like credit cards.  Here are more tips to help keep your loved one safe:

  • Recognize scam attempts and end communication with perpetrators.
  • Search online for the contact information (name, email, phone number, addresses) and the proposed offer.
  • Resist the pressure to act quickly. Call the police immediately if you feel there is a danger to yourself or a loved one.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls, mailings, and door-to-door services offers.
  • Never give or send any personally identifiable information, money, jewelry, gift cards, checks, or wire information to unverified people or businesses.
  • Make sure all computer anti-virus and security software and malware protections are up to date.
  • Disconnect from the internet and shut down your device if you see a pop-up message or locked screen. Pop-ups are regularly used by perpetrators to spread malicious software. Enable pop-up blockers to avoid accidentally clicking on a pop-up.
  • Be careful what you download. Never open an email attachment from someone you do not know and be wary of email attachments forwarded to you.
  • Take precautions to protect your identity if a criminal gains access to your device or account. Immediately contact your financial institutions to place protections on your accounts and monitor your accounts and personal information for suspicious activity. https://amacfoundation.org/focus-on-elder-fraud/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw5uWGBhCTARIsAL70sLKhcseRar-Us0pp0YxSnB64RMgwWREwh-17p79zUGxZjcXs_Ok4DfgaAlLzEALw_wcB

These are just a few examples…the creativity of the criminal element is generally limitless. Where there is an opportunity to steal, they will! Technology, the internet, and electronic payments makes it easier to track but can also make it easier to commit fraud. Watch over your loved one and let’s stop the fraud!

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