Protecting the Elders from Scams and Rip-Offs

Protecting Elders Rip Offs

Protecting the Elders from Scams and Rip-Offs

Very often, the role of a caregiver is a blend of a doctor, house cleaner, advisor and even an amateur detective. Elderly people are gullible and get regularly fleeced by smooth talking salespersons. (“Caregiver Providing Financial Guidance – 5 Things You Can …”)

The elderly is fiercely protective of their finances and how they use them. “However, often they make wrong decisions about where to spend their money.” (“Caregiver Providing Financial Guidance – 5 Things You Can …”) Therefore, you as a caregiver must look after this aspect and see that their limited resources will tide them over if possible.

Many senior citizens have become the victims of frauds and smooth-talking salespersons who sell them a hope and a dream in exchange for their money. These salespersons are constantly calling or emailing old people in the hope of getting a fast buck.

If the elders become victims of a fraud, it is something they try to hide from their caregivers. You as a caregiver may never know if they have been ripped off, and they will never tell you about it. Hence, you must assume the role of an amateur detective to find out about such episodes and take steps to rectify the situation as much as possible.

There may be some things you can observe to find out if your parents are victims of frauds:

  • Watch out for your parents’ mail. If they receive substantial amounts of junk mail with get rich quick schemes, or phony contests, etc., it is possible that they may have become a victim of some scam.
  • Spend some time at your parent’s home and answer the phone there. If there are many calls from charities or swindle offers, then their names have passed around to other such swindle artists.
  • If you see a lot of junk items lying around your parents’ house, then you can be sure that they have been ripped off.
  • Begin paying attention to their budget. There may be some problem with the bank account, or too many checks to con artists. Check out the credit card statement as well.
  • Check out the ‘sent folder’ in the email account to verify any response to fraud email schemes.

Your elderly parents are very often defensive of their financial activities and will resent your interference in their affairs. It takes some amount of gentle coaxing and convincing to let you see the documents. Getting involved in bogus contests or get rich quick schemes is addictive and your elderly parents are no exception to this. (“Caregiver Providing Financial Guidance – 5 Things You Can …”)

Despite losing thousands of dollars to such frauds, they will still get cheated by the next crook who manages to convince them, because they are addicted to it. You need to be gentle and understanding to approach the problem and find a solution.

As a caregiver, you must convince your elderly parents to let you manage their finances. You can start by managing their taxes and once they are comfortable with the idea, you can offer to take over the bill payment and manage the checkbook. (“Caregiver Providing Financial Guidance – 5 Things You Can …”)

“Later, you can begin gently questioning the expenditure that looks suspicious to you.” (“Caregiver Providing Financial Guidance – 5 Things You Can …”) Do not try to get back any lost money, however, be vigilant enough to prevent any unfamiliar person from getting access to the money. Cancel all the direct debits that are not easily identifiable. (“Following up on the scam post – AR Alert Response”) “Start getting a control over the phone calls, junk mail and emails.” (“Caregiver Providing Financial Guidance – 5 Things You Can …”) In other words, you must play the role of a guard dog to protect your parents from fraud artists and conmen out to fleece them of their money.

Best Wishes, Coyalita

Behavioral Health Rehabilitative Specialist

See Tomorrow: “Making A Difference-Involving the Elderly in Social Service”

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