Identify potential victims of a scam

Identify potential victims of a scam

Scammers have repeatedly deployed deceitful cons on the elderly for a variety of reasons. Elderly citizens have often accumulated a comfortable level of resources after a lifetime of hard work. While these resources may be more substantial in their golden years, the elderly often encounter situations that may limit their ability to manage them effectively. Whether it’s due to the onset of dementia, Alzheimer’s, loneliness, or even a corrupt caregiver, certain factors may make an elderly citizen more susceptible to the convincing promises of rich rewards by devious scammers.

The best way to determine if elderly loved ones have been the victim of a scam is to open a dialogue with them. Tell them about your concerns and how you can help protect their finances using the following steps:

  • Start by checking the phone log and find out who’s been calling. Look for international calls or repeat calls from the same domestic numbers. Scammers are increasingly disguising their real identities and phone numbers so people will pick up the phone. They’re using the Internet and new technology to mask the call’s true origin, making it appear as though international calls are coming from somewhere within the United States, or even from a government agency.
  • Monitor financial accounts for unusual activity. Look for recurring payments to unknown people or businesses. Explain you are concerned about your loved one’s well-being; ask to look at checkbooks and other records. Look for payments to wire-transfer services or patterns of checks made out to cash. Payments to con artists may start out small but can quickly increase in size and dollar amount.
  • Go through letters and packages in your loved one’s household. Be alert to phony prize notification letters or other indications of playing foreign lotteries or sweepstakes.
  • If the phone rings repeatedly during your visit, answer the call yourself. If you don’t recognize the voice, ask who is calling. Be suspicious if he or she hangs up rather than responds to your question.
  • If you notice that a loved one’s living conditions are below his or her financial means, bills are past due, or a caregiver has isolated your loved one, the caregiver may be taking advantage of him or her.
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