As a caregiver, you not only have to help your parent enjoy life to the fullest mentally, physically, and emotionally, but you also need to protect her from those who may desire to harm her – especially financially.
Financial senior scams against the elderly are now considered the crime of the 21st century as criminals try to find ways to access your parent’s finances, whether she has $1 to her name or $1 million.
Here are the top ten senior scams that you and your parent will want to be aware of so that she isn’t lured into giving away secure information or her money to a scam artist – whether it’s a complete stranger, or sadly, even someone in her family.
1. Grandparent Scams
In this scam, a person calls claiming to be a grandchild. They may not even know the grandchild’s name but will start the conversation with “guess who this is?” or “this is your favorite grandson calling.” They then tell a story of woe and how they need some cash fast to fix it and ask your parent to send them money through some online means before anyone has a chance to stop her.
2. Sweepstakes Scams
An unexpected check is sent to your parent as “winnings” and all they have to do is cover the processing fees in order to claim it. Remind your parent that if she hasn’t entered a contest, she’s not going to win anything.
3. Homeowner Scams
If your parent is asked to provide money for a report to be generated or is requested to make a payment on something she didn’t sign up with her home, have her check the sources before that check is cut because it easily could be another scammer.
4. Investment Scams
If your parent is asked to invest in someone’s business, check out the business closely before she puts any money into it, even if it’s a business by a family member. Pyramid senior scams are all over the place and unfortunately, distant relatives sometimes like to take advantage of your parent’s retirement funds.
5. Internet Scams
One of the most important internet lessons your parent can learn is to never click on an unknown link, no matter how official the sender seems to be. A virus could be let loose on her computer, grabbing passwords and bank account or credit card information.
6. Charity Scams
Especially common after natural disasters, scam artists will call and ask for funds to help the victims of whatever natural disaster just happened. If your parent’s heart is moved to give money to help those in need, have her connect with well-known and established charities.
7.Anti-aging Senior Scams
Fraudulent products that produce no results are the basis of this scam. Your parent could spend copious amounts of cash on a product that costs pennies to produce and has no results. Always check reviews of a product before buying too much of it.
8. Medicare/Insurance Senior Scams
The perpetrator will get personal information from your parent and then use that information to create fake medical bills to send to the insurance and pocket the payments.
9. Funeral Senior Scams
Watch out for funeral homes that require prepayment and then bill for only the most expensive and lavish products.
10. Prescription Scams
Finally, while hunting for the best prescription price is good, in this senior scam, people will provide prescriptions that are not approved or accurate – and a very dangerous game for your parent. Keeping her on approved prescription sites is best for her safety, even when the prices seem ludicrous.
Usually, the best bet for scams is to ask someone else what they think or Google the resource requesting the information or money. Almost all things can wait until they are verified so encourage your parent to never simply trust someone or something she receives. She should check with you or any other caregiver in her life first.