We are all inundated with those annoying robocalls and unwanted telemarketer solicitations, and though it may seem simple enough to steer clear of falling prey to a scammer, it’s actually quite simple to become drawn in to what may seem like a plausible scenario – particularly for seniors. The truth is, an astounding $36 billion is scammed from older adults on an annual basis, and quite often these funds are unrecoverable, consuming a lifetime of savings and leaving older adults in financial distress.
The FBI wants us to be familiar with these three widespread elder fraud scams to help keep the seniors we love safe.
The Miracle Cure
When informed they have a long-term health problem, identifying a cure or effective treatment option is a top concern for seniors – one thing scammers are now using to their advantage by touting “miracle” cures that may really do more harm than good, both to a senior’s health and wallet. The following tips can help:
- Most importantly, never take any medications, even over-the-counter meds, vitamins, or supplements, without having a doctor’s approval.
- Deceptive advertisements and too-good-to-be-true promises, particularly in combination with a celebrity endorsement, are cause for suspicion – particularly those promoted as a “cure” without any adverse side effects.
- When in doubt, inquire with the Better Business Bureau and/or the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to determine if any complaints have been lodged against the seller or about the product.
Final Wishes Fraud
Making funeral arrangements for a loved one is an emotionally-wrought time, leaving elderly adults prone to people who want to take advantage of them. When planning a funeral, the following information is important to know:
- Seniors should always have a trusted member of the family or friend along with them while making final arrangements for a loved one.
- Price-shop by telephone prior to choosing a funeral home, because they are legally mandated to supply pricing.
- Purchase of either a casket or embalming isn’t necessary for cremations – these are add-ons which may cost a senior loved one thousands of additional and unnecessary funds.
- Evaluate contracts completely before signing anything.
Telemarketers love to focus on older adults, who can be lonely and take pleasure in engaging in a discussion with them, and who may well not recognize their scam practices. Beware of:
- “Free” rewards that involve a small fee to be paid for any reason.
- A request for credit card or other personal/financial information from anybody who is unfamiliar.
- A push to decide immediately about a purchase.
- Services that need payment in advance.
Compassionate Nursing Services, the St. Louis home care agency families trust, can protect aging parents from scams such as these, by providing regular, ongoing, trustworthy companionship, and by serving as a resource to empower older adults to be aware and wary of the potential for fraud. Contact us at 314-432-4312 for more information about our top-rated home care services.