Friday, February 7, 2014

What to Do About the Rising Number of Financial Fraud Cases Involving Seniors

Financial scams involving the elderly are becoming increasingly common. In fact, a survey says that more than seven million older Americans have been the victims of a financial scam.1 This devastating number illustrates how important it is to protect your elderly loved one.

The types of scams that seniors fall victim to

There are a number of different scams that con artists use to trap unsuspecting elderly people. Senior care professionals explain that some of these scams include:

Health care or insurance fraud

Since every senior over the age of 65 qualifies for Medicare, scammers see them as ripe for the picking when it comes to health care fraud. To trick the elderly individual, a scammer will call and claim to be in need of more information in order to process insurance requests or other medical documents. They will then collect all of the details they need to wreak havoc on a person’s bank account. Some people even go so far as to set up makeshift “clinics” where they provide phony services and collect credit card information to pay for these services.

There are also a number of scams involving prescription drugs. Con artists will offer medications that your senior needs at an unbeatable price, except these drugs are simply sugar pills. They will then collect money and flee. In more extreme instances, they may even end up taking pills that cause a severe drug interaction.

Funeral scams

Many seniors fall victim to scams involving burial services. For instance, a scammer may hear that an elderly individual has recently lost their spouse. They will then call and explain that this person had a debt that still needs to be settled, and end up collecting thousands from the grieving widow or widower. Some funeral homes have even been known to participate in scams. They will tack on thousands of dollars in extra costs for burial services. They may even explain that it is necessary to purchase a casket if the deceased is being cremated. 

Elder care professionals encourage families to talk with their seniors about such scams. Explain the warning signs and educate them about what to do in the event that a con artist makes contact. This helps to keep their money and their personal information safe. 

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