Protect Seniors from Scams with These Tips

senior lady on computer

Try these tips to help protect seniors from scams.

We’re all too familiar with those annoying robocalls that always seem to interrupt us right at dinnertime. They are clearly scammers, and while it may seem simple enough to avoid them by just hanging up or ignoring the calls, it actually can be easy to be taken advantage of – especially for older adults. In fact, as much as $36 billion is being scammed from seniors each year, and most of the time, this money is unable to be recovered, wiping out a lifetime of savings and leaving seniors in financial ruin.

To protect seniors from scams, it’s important to be aware of the following common types of fraud:

A Miracle Treatment

When older adults are struggling with a chronic health concern, finding relief through a cure or better treatment option is crucial. Scammers realize this and are touting “miracle” treatments that can actually cause more harm than help, both to an older adult’s health and bank account. These tips can help:

  • Never take any medications, even OTC meds or vitamins/supplements, without approval from the doctor.
  • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, especially if a Hollywood celebrity is part of the advertising. Be especially wary of remedies that are marketed as a “cure” without any negative side effects.
  • If you’re unsure whether something is legitimate or a scam, check with the Better Business Bureau or the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to find out if any complaints have been registered about the product or seller.

The Funeral Fraud

Planning for the funeral of someone you love is an emotional experience, a vulnerability scammers take advantage of. Understand the following facts about planning a funeral to avoid fraud:

  • Always ensure that a trusted friend or family member accompanies seniors when making final arrangements for a loved one.
  • Compare costs by phone prior to choosing a funeral home. Funeral homes are required by law to provide pricing when asked.
  • Embalming services and a casket are never required for cremations.
  • Never sign anything until an agreement has been thoroughly reviewed.

Telemarketing Techniques

Seniors are often the target of telemarketers, who know they may be lonely and more willing to engage in a conversation with them. Be wary of:

  • Any kind of free prize that involves a fee to claim.
  • Any request for personal or financial information, including credit card numbers, from someone who is unfamiliar.
  • A decision that needs to be made immediately about a purchase.
  • Anything that requires upfront payment.

Visiting Care Giving Services, the leading Chesterfield senior advocate and provider of trusted home care services, is here to help protect seniors from scams. We can provide the companionship [D4] and support that alleviate loneliness and boredom – two of the key factors senior scammers are targeting. Call us any time at (636) 493-9058 in Saint Charles, MO or at (618) 366-9058 in Fairview Heights, IL to learn more about how we can help keep the seniors you love safe. Visit our Service Area page for a full listing of the communities we serve.