If there is an opportunity to scam someone, it most likely is happening. Yet, why does it seem the elderly in our country bare the brunt of such frauds against humanity? Well, if you were to spend just a few moments to consider the plight of our elderly population, the “why” becomes easily understood . . . the solutions – more difficult to integrate.
Our elderly live in a different world than most of the rest of the population: most have fixed incomes resulting in the ever present need to increase this income in the face of annual inflation/price increases.
They also have accumulated major assets to protect their futures, i.e., homes free and clear of mortgage debt, retirement assets, and personal assets. These monies offer those committing fraud easy targets to focus on.
There are many, many people who know how best to take advantage of this population and who often present themselves as trusting of anyone who can speak their “language.” For example, telemarketers know how to make an offer seem as if it is the only opportunity that the elderly home owner may get to refurbish their home by replacing every window in this once in a life-time “deal.”
Telemarketers know the elderly are home more frequently than those younger Americans. So, calls to that population are easier to find during the day. And, the telephone is clearly not the only method that can be used by those committing fraud against the elderly. Door-to-door sales is not dead . . . it is just focused more specifically on our elderly.
How do we help keep our loved ones and our care recipients from succumbing to fraud? Below are some ideas that seem to be universal in their approach:
Don’t give out personal information to anyone unless the elderly person has initiated the contact.
Shred mail and other documents before placing in the trash.
Keep important and confidential documents in safe places (i.e., safe-deposit boxes, safes, etc).
Just say “no” to telemarketers.
Use friends and neighbors as faux financial advisers – direct all calls to them (most telemarketers will not even attempt to make that type of second call).
Keep doors locked at all times.
Install alarm systems, with intercoms connected to the front door, etc. This should prevent the door-to-door sales people at bay.
Always ask for any offer in some type of written form.
Attempt to not use the Internet to purchase anything.
Be aware of your “do-not-call” rights. Call either 1-888-382-1222 or go to www.donotcall.gov to report violators.
Staying on top of thieves is an endless and very difficult task, even for law enforcement authorities. However, by embracing the simple techniques listed above (and others too numerous to mention in this piece), non-law enforcement members of our society can (and do regularly) effectively fight back against crime against the elderly. We recommend that all of our clients visit their local police departments, get to know them, and gather the valuable information they have amassed on fighting fraud. Every little bit helps . . .
Sign up for our newsletter to get free instant access to our special report.
We hate spam too!
It has been wonderful to have the "angels" come in and take my mom out to lunch and other activities. My mom enjoys Patty and Maria and loves that they take her to do the things she enjoys, keeps her active and engaged. — Barbara, Arizona