Elderly Scams

We’re all inundated with those annoying robocalls and unwanted telemarketer solicitations, and even though it could seem simple enough to avoid falling prey to a scammer, it is, in reality, quite easy to get drawn in to what seems like a believable scenario – particularly for seniors. The truth is, an astounding $36 billion is scammed from the elderly annually, and in most cases these funds are unrecoverable, wiping out a lifetime of savings and leaving seniors in financial distress.

The FBI wants us to be aware of these elderly scams that target seniors in order to keep our loved ones safe.

The Miracle Cure

When seniors are informed they have a chronic health condition, identifying a cure or effective treatment option is a top priority – one thing scammers are now utilizing to their advantage is touting “miracle” cures that may really do more harm than good, both to a senior’s health and wallet. These tips can help:

  • First off, do not ever take any medications, even over-the-counter meds, vitamins, or supplements, without the physician’s approval.
  • Misleading advertising and too-good-to-be-true promises, particularly in conjunction with a Hollywood celebrity recommendation, are cause for suspicion – in particular those identified as a “cure” without having any negative side effects.
  • When in doubt, speak with the Better Business Bureau and/or the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to uncover if any issues have been lodged against the seller or about the product.

Final Wishes Fraud

Making funeral arrangements for someone you care about is an emotionally-wrought time, causing seniors to be vulnerable to individuals who want to take advantage of them. When organizing a funeral, the following information is worthwhile to understand:

  • Older adults should always have a trusted member of the family or friend with them while making final arrangements for a loved one.
  • Price-shop by phone ahead of selecting a funeral home, as they are mandated legally to provide pricing.
  • Purchase of either a casket or embalming is never required for cremations – add-ons that can cost an older adult thousands of extra and unnecessary funds.
  • Evaluate agreements extensively ahead of signing anything.

Telemarketer Tips

Telemarketers love to target older adults, who may be lonely and take pleasure in participating in a discussion with them, and who may well not realize their scam techniques. Watch out for:

  • “Free” awards that require a fee to be paid for any reason.
  • A request for charge card or other personal/financial information from anyone who is unfamiliar.
  • Pressure to decide right away about a purchase.
  • Services which require payment upfront.

Hearts at Home In-Home Care, the senior care Kansas City families trust, will help protect seniors from scams such as these, by providing regular, ongoing, trustworthy companionship, and by serving as a resource to help older adults to be aware and cautious about the possibility for fraud. Reach out to us at 913-440-4209 for more information about our home care services.

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