AARP estimates that as many as one in five seniors has been the victim of a scam. The elderly are at a greater risk of being scammed for many reasons. They may be more trusting or lonely which makes them an easy target. They may be more willing to talk with a stranger because of it.
So what can you do to protect the elders in your life from scams?
- Remind them that you will help them with home repairs and with selecting contractors to perform any services that you can’t. One of the greatest sources of victimization of seniors is from people who show up in the neighborhood offering roof or home repairs at too-good-to-be-true prices.
- If you utilize in-home care or employ caregivers to help your loved one around the house, make sure you or the agency that employs them has conducted state and federal background checks on them.
- Keep their identifying information under lock and key. Anything that may make it easy for them to be a victim of identity theft – social security card, Medicare paperwork and insurance information – should be in a locked file cabinet.
- Sign your loved one up for the Do Not Call Registry. Seniors are the most common victims of telemarketing fraud.
- Consider helping them manage their bills and finances. Then you will have the opportunity to review where their money is going. It will also give you the chance to check for unusual charges on their accounts.
AARP has a video library on aging related topics including elder scams. Avoiding Scams is one that offers you some quick advice.