Only You Can Prevent Senior Fraud

March 05, 2012

It’s well a known fact, at least amongst us spoiled grandchildren, that all old people have more money than they know what to do with. I mean look around you…

Gold-plated dentures have become pandemic.

Yesterday I was rudely nudged off the sidewalk by a septuagenarian who donned a walker with hydraulic shocks AND spinning rims.

I used to live with my grandmother; every night before I went to bed I would pray that the large piles of cash she had stockpiled in her room didn’t spontaneously combust. I owe my life to it…

It’s a shepherd’s duty to shear his flock. If you need some fast cash, why not scam the elderly? They are flush, vulnerable, and there’s no doubt you can outrun them if you find yourself in a tight spot.

Disgusted? You should be. Scamming seniors is despicable. If you were actually looking for advice on how to scam seniors get off our blog. Like now…

Now that we’ve sifted through the riffraff let’s get down to business. The more you know about these scams, the better you will be equipped to assist any seniors you know. If you are losing or have lost your passion for helping senior citizens check out this video before you read the rest of my blog.

This blog will focus on five scams that target the elderly:

Deceptive Sales Scams:

Involve door to door salesmen, who are often offering air duct cleaning or another type of home repair. These salesmen will offer a repair estimate where they inflate the magnitude of problems they find and the cost of services to unsuspecting seniors.

These scams can be avoided. Tell your senior acquaintances to be extremely cautious about buying anything from door to door salespersons. Seniors who are interested in tangible or intangible products that are being sold door-to-door should get a business card from the salesperson, and research the company and product in question. Remind grandma and grandpa that an honest door to door salesman will never use high pressure techniques.

Medicare Scams:

Like any bureaucracy, Medicare can be difficult to navigate, especially for seniors. Scammers have been known to collect bank account, credit card, and social security numbers by posing as Medicare officials looking to correct an error.

Don’t despair, a quick fix exists for this scam too. Medicare doesn’t contact customers via phone or email and ask anyone for their Social Security, credit card, or bank account numbers. Make sure that any seniors you associate with are well aware of this. Contact Medicare if you suspect any type of fraud. If you have been a target of fraud, contact the police.

Part II

I started the first half of this blog with a movie clip that featured Adam Sandler and an adorable old lady. I figured a little humor was the least I could do, because let’s get serious; reading about the ways that seniors are scammed is downright nauseating. I can sympathize with you; writing about the ways that seniors are scammed is downright nauseating. I’ll try to interject some fun links into this blog.

Here’s the link you were expecting.

Now let’s get down to business:

Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams:

In these hustles, a scammer will inform their mark that they have won a lucrative prize in a sweepstakes or lottery. The scammer will tell their target that all they have to do to collect this money is mail some type of processing fee to the company that runs the sweepstakes. Recently scammers have been sending checks; they ask recipients to cash the checks, and send back a portion of the monies as certified funds to cover processing costs. Later the victim finds out that the check they cashed was fraudulent, whatever funds they wired have been stolen and the money they thought they were depositing is now owed to the bank and their expense.

How can you prevent this? Make sure that your senior citizen friends know not to wire money to someone they don’t know. You should never have to send money to receive winnings from a lottery or a sweepstakes.

I think you’ve earned a fun clip.

Lucille Bluth, one of the best grandmas of all time…

Now back to work!

Grandparent Scam:

In this con, a telephone call will come in from a “relative” who is stuck in a foreign country and needs money to come home. Don’t be fooled, you are NOT related to this person. DO NOT WIRE THEM MONEY.

I’ll say it again. Make sure your elderly acquaintances know not to wire money to people they don’t know. Get it? Got it? Good.

Now watch this video.

Rodney Dangerfield lived to a ripe old age, probably because he had people to who made sure he didn’t get scammed. Ready for the last one? It’s a doosey…

Bereavement Scams

This rip-off involves crooks scanning obituaries for recent deaths before contacting surviving relatives in an attempt to collect a debt. In the past, grieving victims have provided blank checks or credit card information, allowing thieves to make off with a lot of money.

This is a terrible scam; truly terrible. Please offer to help seniors who have lost a loved one. If you are uncertain about a debt, ask for written confirmation. For information about what debt is discharged when a person passes away, contact an estate attorney.

Be vigilant; remember that only YOU can prevent seniors from losing all their money. It’s not THAT much of a stretch; just pretend Smokey’s talking about seniors instead of trees. Or think about how old all those kids are now…

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