Financial Scams Targeting The Elderly
If there is an elderly person in your life, you should know that elder financial abuse is a serious crime, and it occurs in many ways throughout the country and in Florida. Protecting your loved ones, or going after predators who have harmed them, is a responsibility that must be taken seriously. If your senior family member has been victimized in this way, a local personal injury attorney may be able to help.
Financial Elder Abuse
With Florida’s large population of older Americans, con artists flock to the state in the hopes of duping elderly individuals. Florida has more than it’s fair share of victims, who lose a combined total of $30 billion annually throughout the country. In one local case, a Florida man allowed a fellow church-goer to become his financial advisor. It took just months for the man’s accounts to be emptied of $96,000.
Types of Financial Scams
There are a number of ways that scammers weasel their way into the lives and pocketbooks of seniors. Sadly, nine out of ten incidents that are reported actually involve family members as the perpetrators. Some common issues facing the elderly include:
- Medicare scams: Scammers pose as representatives of Medicare in order to get personal information from seniors. They then bill Medicare for services and keep the money.
- Investment schemes: Pyramid schemes, bogus retirement plans, and fake inheritance claims are all focused on getting elders to part with their retirement savings.
- Grandparent scams: Fake grandchildren call saying, “Do you know who this is?” When the grandparent supplies a name, the imposter details a financial problem for which they need a loan.
- Telemarketing scams: Because seniors tend to make double the number of phone purchases of other groups, they are frequently targeted to purchase overpriced and unnecessary products. But the phone scams can be even more devious:
- Fake charities: Callers ask for donations for real causes, but pocket the money;
- Fake accidents: Callers report that a relative is in the hospital and desperately needs money, convincing the senior to wire cash or mail a check.
- Internet fraud: Pop-ups appear selling fake anti-virus programs that actually allow the scammer access to personal information. Sometimes seniors may receive emails that appear to be from legitimate institutions asking them to update personal information.
Exploiting elderly victims requires gaining their trust, then acquiring access to financial information, and even financial accounts. Within a very short time, a lifetime of savings can disappear. To prevent something like this from happening to your loved ones, there are some things you can do:
- Keep phone numbers on the do-not-call list to reduce seniors’ exposure to telephone cons;
- Check seniors’ credit reports regularly;
- Keep an eye out for unusual expenditures, questionable signatures, and changes to authorized signers on elders’ accounts.
Protecting vulnerable loved ones as they get older is important. If you suspect financial scams have led to a disappearance of funds, a civil suit may be in order. At the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton, we will work to ensure the best possible outcomes for your loved one. Contact us in Daytona & Ormond Beach for a free, confidential consultation.