6 Scams Targeting the Elderly & How They Can Be Avoided

Older adults are often targets for scam artists who presume they have accessible assets. Criminals also often assume elderly people are more likely to be trusting. Family members can help their older loved ones avoid such scams by educating them about possible pitfalls and offering some sage advice. The staff at Coast Care San Diego discusses a few of the common scams targeting seniors and how they can be avoided.

1. Family Member Who Needs Money

This crime involves someone calling a senior and claiming to be a younger family member in financial straits. The caller might pretend to be a grandchild who needs money immediately to get home, get out of jail, or have a vehicle repaired. The unsuspecting senior is then provided with instructions on where to send the money. Your aging loved one should be cautioned to never send money and tell the caller that he or she will speak with another family member first. 

2. Home Repairs

Phony contractors may come along and offer to do some menial job for a small fee. However, once the job is finished, the scammer finds other potential issues that may or may not need repairing. The scammer might do a poorly done repair or insist on being paid exorbitant amounts before completing the job and then disappearing. Advise your loved one that legitimate contractors always provide references. 

3. Sweepstakes

A scammer may call your loved one and announce that he or she has won a sweepstakes. However, before your loved one can claim the winnings, the caller needs bank account or credit card information for a small processing fee. Your loved one then has his or her identity stolen. Make sure your loved one never provides sensitive information to strangers and never sends money. 

4. Computer Fraud

Upon venturing to a website, a pop-up comes up and claims the computer has a virus. The owner must then contact a phone number to have the device diagnosed and fixed. However, the ploy may include downloading phishing software to gain personal information. When encountering a pop-up, your loved one should close the page or shut down the computer. He or she should not contact the perpetrators. 

5. Timeshares

This con involves offering to resell an existing timeshare, and it often requires a fee for advertising, processing, and other administrative costs. Your loved one might be promised a money-back guarantee if the sale is not completed within 90 days. However, the timeshare is never sold and your loved one is then out the money. Remind your loved one that commissions are only awarded at the time of a sale. 

6. Counterfeit Medications

If your loved one needs expensive prescription medications, he or she may be tempted to find a bargain on the internet. However, the medications offered by unscrupulous sites are often not real and may pose a health threat. If your loved one has financial difficulties trying to keep up with his or her medication regimen, find better alternatives.

Seniors managing the challenges of cognitive decline may be especially susceptible to scams. However, they can continue living at home safely and comfortably with the help of professional dementia or Alzheimer’s home care. San Diego families can contact Coast Care Partners to learn about the high-quality at-home care we offer. Call 619-354-2544 today.