While the world is filled with plenty of good people, it’s also a sad truth that there are also many individuals out there who don’t hesitate to take advantage of the elderly in the form of scams. While anyone can be a victim of a scam, senior citizens are especially susceptible. According to this recent UCLA study, they tend to be much more trusting than younger generations, making them “disproportionately vulnerable to fraud.” In this age of technology, there are even more ways to commit fraud and scam individuals out of their money, so it’s more important than ever to help protect your elderly loved ones from becoming victims. Below, we cover some of the ways you can help!
Do some research and keep an eye on the news for the latest scams to be aware of, and be sure to inform your elderly loved ones so they can be aware as well. Have a conversation about all the places scams can occur—including over the phone and on the internet. This way, you both can stay informed and be less vulnerable.
Know the signs
As well as where they occur, talk to your loved one about the different types of scams that exist. The most common types of scams include: computer virus scams, sweepstakes scams, tax scams, and repair scams. If something seems too good to be true, or an offer comes out of nowhere, it’s a sure sign of a scam. For example, if your loved one suddenly wins a sweepstakes contest they didn’t sign up for, or a repair man shows up out of the blue claiming they can fix a roof or water pipe, this shouldn’t be trusted.
In addition, stress the importance of never giving out personal information unless it’s to a secure and trusted source. If a random caller asks for a social security number or sensitive bank account information, that’s a big red flag that a scam could be under foot.
Offer to help
There are plenty of ways you can help your loved ones take preventative measures to avoid scams that still allow them to keep their independence. Consider helping them un-list their phone number so it’s harder for scammers to find. Place their address on opt-out lists with the Direct Marketing Association. This reduces the junk mail from legitimate businesses and marketers, so the junk mail that does end up coming through can be more easily identified as a scam offer. Help them check their credit reports, or show them how they can keep track of their bank accounts online if they’re able to.
If you’re concerned that your loved one may need additional care, Loretto can help! We offer caregiver support, as well as long-term care. Loretto is proud to offer 19 specialized programs and facilities with over 2,500 dedicated caregivers, providing a system of care that addresses the unique needs of every individual. Contact us today to learn more!