Nobody expects a scam to happen to them until it does.
But it’s happening.
So what should you do when you find out your elderly loved one is being scammed?
In today’s post, I’ll share some tips on how to salvage such a situation.
Elder Scams: the signs to look out for
But first, how do you tell if something is a scam or not?
- Your elderly loved one tells you they received a call or letter from a government agency asking them to verify personal information. Usually, these types of scammers will call and say they are from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or will erroneously say they are calling from the “Tax Department”. Once, they get personal information, that can use to it drain bank accounts and do whatever else they wish.
- You elderly loved one says they received a call or letter telling them they’ve won some kind of lottery or sweepstakes and that the company needs a credit card so they can “save their spot”.
- If you cannot find any information online about the company that is making calls or sending letters, there is a chance they are scammers.
- More tech-savvy scammers will send e-mails with the logo of a legitimate organization such as a bank and ask for the other person to click on a link to verify something. A scammer once sent me an email with the logo of a bank I use asking me to verify some details. I almost clicked through until I decided to check the email address it had come from. It was not the usual one I got from the bank so I stopped and then called the company to make sure they really wanted this information from me. Turns out they did not need that information. Had I clicked on the link in the email, I could have been defrauded.
And while these are good rules of thumb to follow, scammers do get savvier with their techniques each year.
A combination of keeping your guard up and not falling for anything that is too good to be true is a key to preventing scams.
What should you do?
Scammers got your loved one, what should you do?
Report elder scams
First of all, it is likely that your elderly loved one wouldn’t want to tell you that they were scammed. In fact, according to the FBI, older Americans are less likely to report a scam.
However, reporting it can help to retrieve their money.
It will also put an end to this activity so that other seniors don’t suffer.
If you know the person who has scammed your loved one, it is your responsibility to call the FBI and report them.
Call the financial institution involved
If the scammers stole money, the financial institution will more than likely refund the money following their own investigations.
Help your loved one understand elder scams
Help your elderly loved one by educating about elder scams.
Tell them about the warning signs.
Send them this post to read!
Preventing a scam is better than salvaging it.
However, if they have this information after the first time, you will reduce the likelihood that this happens again.
Get a fiduciary
If you live far away from your loved one but you need someone to help them manage their money properly, you could hire a fiduciary.
A fiduciary will make sure to pay the bills, manage investments and other financial assets.
This should put your mind at ease that someone will take your loved one’s hard-earned money.
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