According to the National Council on Aging, scams targeting seniors have become so rampant that they are now considered “the crime of the 21st century.” Scams come in all forms and even the savviest of seniors can be victimized by a clever scam artist. Unfortunately, the risk of being swindled has only increased and the results can be devastating.
Types of Scams
Believe it or not, new scams are created every day! Seniors face scams by computer, phone, mail and in person. The problem is so widespread that elder financial fraud losses are estimated to be $2.9 billion annually.
Who are the Usual Suspects?
While scams can be perpetrated by strangers preying on the elderly, the biggest opportunity to be deceived often comes from someone who is known and trusted personally, such as a salesperson, friend, family member or other caregiver. Seniors are particularly vulnerable and are victimized mostly because of diminished or slower mental capacity, decline in competency, loneliness, trust, lack of knowledge or awareness of predatory practices.
What Can I Do To Protect Myself and My Loved Ones?
The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to familiarize yourself with the different types of scams and be diligent about keeping personal records and information safe and private. Here are just a few tips from the National Council on Aging:
- Be aware that you’re at risk from strangers – and from those closest to you·
- Do not isolate yourself – stay involved!
- Never buy from (or give to) anyone who calls or visits unannounced.
- Shred receipts with credit card numbers.
- Never give credit card, banking, Social Security, Medicare or other personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call.
Attend an Educational Program
The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living periodically offers educational programs to help you learn about today’s most common scams, how to protect yourself and what to do if you think you have been victimized.
Our next program, “Don’t Be Scammed” will take place on Thursday, July 28, 2016 from 9:30 am – 11:00 am at Jewish Family Services, 52 Concordia Shopping Center, Monroe Township, NJ. Our speaker Scott Silver, a money manager and owner of Helping Hands Bookkeeping, LLC, will provide helpful tips on identifying and avoiding scams. There is a requested donation of $5 to attend and pre-registration is required. To register please call 732-568-1155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.