Money scams are a common part of everyday life. They exist because they work. One group that is particularly susceptible is the elderly. They make a perfect target for many reasons. They make perfect targets because they’re in their retirement and they most likely have some financial means. Another reason is that they are often vulnerable due to advanced age or declining health. For these reasons, the elderly need to watch out for money scams like those below.
One of the most common types of money scams that target the elderly are scams involving fraudulent charities. The elderly are often generous with their money so this makes them targets for fake charitable causes. Scammers create fake charities counting on the elderly to be generous and want to help out.
Health and Prescription Scams
Identity theft is made fairly easy if the scammers obtain your personal and financial information. Scammers use different methods to obtain this information. One of the most common is to pose as someone they would trust such as a healthcare representative. Another common ploy involves their prescription medications. The scammer might offer a prescription plan to the elderly and once they have them signed up and have their financial information, the victim never sees or hears from them again. If they do receive something for their money, it most likely is not at all what they ordered.
Money scams involving telemarketing are some of the most audacious. They call the elderly at home and pose as someone the victim knows. For example, they might say they are a relative that is in some kind of trouble and they need financial assistance from the victim. If the scammer has done some research, they could use names of friends or relatives to make their scam more believable.
Scammers count on the fact that the elderly are often home during the day. They also take advantage of the fact that the elderly are often lonely and trusting. They might call an elderly victim and tell them they have some great news for them. The scammer then goes on to tell them that they’ve won a great prize and they just need to gather some information to verify everything and process the prize. The scammer might even say that they just need to collect a small fee to start the processing.
More and more people use the internet on a daily basis for email, surfing the web and staying in touch with friends and family. Many also use the internet to do their banking. The elderly are not usually as computer savvy as their younger counterparts and so they are more vulnerable to some of the risks involved in using the internet. For instance, they might not be able to recognize if a site is secure or not so they could more easily be led to a fake site that might look like their banking site but really isn’t.
Home Help Scams
Almost anyone can relate to having chores that need to be taken care of around the home but really needing a little help getting it done. This is a perfect entry for someone working one of the most common money scams. The scammer shows up at the victim’s door and asks if they have any chores that they need some help with. They might even add that they have experience with roofing, construction or landscaping. The chances are decent that the victim will accept a kind offer to help. The scammer then might ask for the money upfront and do substandard work or they sometimes even start and then tell the victim that they now realize the victim has a much larger problem that will cost much more than they originally discussed.
Cemetery Plot and Funeral Scams
After the death of a loved one, an elderly person would be at their most vulnerable and particularly susceptible to money scams involving cemetery plots or funeral planning. Funeral planners may tack on extra fees or try to sell the victim upgraded packages that they cannot afford.
Who doesn’t want to look or feel younger? This is one of those money scams which has an almost universal appeal. Lots of people fall for the latest anti-aging cream or pill, no matter what the cost. The elderly are easiest targets for these scams.
Home Mortgage Scams
Money scams involving home mortgages usually involve loan documents. Scammers try to charge unlawful or excessive fees for loan documents. Another tactic is to charge fees for information on reverse mortgages.
Uncertain if they have enough money for retirement can make the elderly targets for investment scams. The scammers could promise unreal returns and the promise is exactly that, unreal. Anyone, particularly the elderly, should be skeptical of investments promising astronomical returns.