As people begin to age, they sometimes suffer cognitive declines that can prevent them from making sound decisions. Unfortunately, scammers like to target the elderly because they are more vulnerable and viewed as easy prey. Seniors are often more trusting than other adults and may not realize the dangers involved in a situation.
Many scammers seek out seniors because they figure these adults have access to retirement savings. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports older adults have suffered $1.7 billion in losses. The average loss is around $34,200. Unfortunately, this figure only includes the reported losses. Because of a lack of reporting, experts surmise the losses could be over $36.6 billion.
Anyone can become a victim of scammers. Because aging parents may not be aware of the dangers, many find it beneficial to enter independent living to ensure they receive the daily help and guidance they need to live a safe and healthy life.
Common Scams Against the Elderly
There are some red flags seniors should be aware of when dealing with scammers. Making elderly parents aware of these will help them avoid scammers and protect themselves as much as possible. The following are some of the common tactics used by scammers.
- Scammers will often send emails or call an elderly person and ask them to wire money. Requests for money wires to accept prizes, purchase products, or pay fees are typically scam attempts and should be avoided.
- Another common attempt for scamming the elderly is fraud calls from government agencies. Scammers will pretend to be calling from a government agency such as Medicare, the IRS, or even the Social Security Administration. All of these agencies only contact people by mail. Phone calls and emails from these agencies are always fraudulent.
- Individuals should warn their elderly parents of unsolicited phone calls. If groups call asking for donations or payments, and the senior has never contacted the group, this should throw up a red flag right away.
- Often, scammers will use a senior’s grandchildren to bring about a scam. The scammer will pretend to be calling on behalf of a grandchild. Scammers may say the grandchild has gotten into trouble and needs bail money. These calls are always scams and should be reported to the police immediately.
- Limited time offers are meant to persuade the elderly to give up their money. Seniors may receive texts, emails, or phone calls inviting them to take part in a money-making opportunity. These fraudulent contacts steal millions of dollars from seniors annually. The community may get involved in helping seniors understand the risks of scammers like these.
How to Help Elderly Parents Avoid Scam Phone Calls
Although it is impossible to avoid scam calls fully, some steps can help reduce phone calls and protect the elderly. Children of elderly parents should attempt the following.
- Children should put their parents on the National Do Not Call Registry. Unfortunately, this only prevents legitimate telemarketers from calling. It will help stop these cumbersome calls so a senior knows any calls coming through are fraudulent.
- Blocking spam calls is also essential. Depending on the phone service, people can block these calls by dialing *77. If a senior has any questions about this feature, they should contact their phone provider for information.
- Instructing their parents about how to handle scammers is helpful. Practicing dialog and giving the elderly person a script will help them feel more confident dealing with potential scammers.
Consider Getting Professional Help
While seniors want to remain living independently, it is not always safe for them. With assisted living communities, seniors will have the daily assistance they need, while remaining as independent as possible.
These communities offer vibrant living environments and extensive opportunities for socialization. Children of elderly parents will rest assured the health and safety of their elderly parents are a top priority.
Many seniors find these communities give them opportunities to enjoy life like never before. There is always something to experience. Elderly residents receive the assistance they need with medications, bathing, toileting, and more. Seniors will never have to feel alone, and their children will not have to worry about scammers taking advantage of their parents.
At Orchard Park of Permian Basin, we provide a safe and enriching environment for our senior residents. Our beautiful community is filled with vibrant life, allowing seniors to feel right at home from the very beginning. We provide the gold standard of living for seniors, and our staff is available 24 hours a day to offer any necessary assistance to our residents.