Every year, millions of dollars are stolen in scams. Seniors are often the key targets because they’re more likely to answer a phone and believe the scam artist’s story. With so many elderly men and women falling victim to scams, why are they also so reluctant to report when they have been a victim?
Reasons Why Seniors Don’t Speak Up
There are two reasons why seniors are less likely to report that they’ve been scammed. One is that they don’t know how. Make sure your parent knows if they are scammed that they call the local police. They can also contact their state’s attorney general and report it to the FTC. There’s an online form at ftc.gov/complaint that’s easy to fill out.
The other reason is due to feelings of shame. Seniors fall for a scam and are ashamed they didn’t catch it. Make sure your parents know that people of all ages fall for scams. They’re not alone. What’s most important is reporting scammers as quickly as possible.
Know the Common Scams
Educate your parent when you read about a new scam. Make sure they know the common ones. The IRS scam is a big one. A caller will call and say the person owes taxes to the IRS. That sets people off in a panic because owing the government money is frightening. The scammer threatens with jail if the person does not send money or give banking info immediately.
Grandparent scams are also common. A person calls pretending to be a police officer, doctor, or lawyer. The senior hears that a grandchild has been arrested or was in a crash. Money is needed immediately to cover bail, legal fees, or medical costs.
A third popular scam is the lottery scam. The senior gets a call or postcard that they’ve won a lottery. To collect the prize, the senior must pay taxes in advance. Once the taxes are paid, the winnings will be sent.
Limit the Time Your Parent is Alone
Prevent scams by making sure your parent doesn’t spend time talking to an unknown caller or visitor. You can do this by blocking unlisted numbers. A senior care professional can also help keep your parent from answering the phone.
Caregivers can help with housework and meals, transportation and appointments, and socializing. With a caregiver there to check the caller ID, text messages, emails, and door-to-door sales, your parent will be able to avoid many scams. Call a senior care agency to get started.