Millions, including our senior citizen population, have fallen victim to scammers.
Financial fraud is the fastest growing form of elder abuse, and most states have comprehensive laws that make elder financial abuse a crime.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) encourages families to communicate openly and freely with their elderly members to make sure that everyone is on the “same page” in recognizing common scams and red flags of cons.
According to one study from Consumers Digest, it is estimated that there are five million cases of elder financial abuse in the United States each year, but law enforcement is only notified of one in 25 cases.
While there are many ways, unfortunately, to defraud, the most common targeting seniors are:
- Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams
- Medicare Scams
- Bereavement Scams (usually directed at those who have recently lost a loved one)
- Deceptive Professionals
- Investment and Work-at-Home Opportunities
- Counterfeit prescription drugs
- Funeral and Cemetery Scams
- Fraudulent Anti-Aging Products
- Fake Charities
- Homeowner and Reverse Mortgage Scams
These scams often take place through the mail or through telemarketing calls, but can also be perpetrated in person. Understanding the typical forms of financial scams can help elderly people, caregivers and family members stay on alert.
If you suspect a financial scam, law enforcement should be your first call, but senior services groups and adult protective services organizations may also be able to help.