Q&A: Protecting elderly parent from scams

Q: My widowed mother is still pretty independent, but I worry about her being vulnerable to scam artists who victimise the elderly. How can I protect her against this kind of abuse?

A: We’ve all heard the despicable horror stories. Help your mum learn to watch out for threats and recognise common types of fraud:

  • Identity theft. Identifying numbers – credit card, driver’s license, telephone, bank account – can be stolen from a purse or wallet, taken from the mailbox or receipts in the trash, and even obtained over the phone on an invented pretext. If your mum uses a computer, install anti-malware software.
  • Home-maintenance fraud. Beware of prepaid improvements or repair (siding, roofing, driveways, etc.) offered at greatly reduced prices. Once paid, the con artist disappears or uses inferior materials. Ask about affiliations with professional trade associations and consumer agencies. It’s best to avoid hiring workers who solicit door-to-door.
  • Telemarketing and mail fraud. Glossy mail-order ads, and smooth-talking appeals over the phone or TV, market unneeded goods and services. Solicitors apply pressure to order immediately using a credit card because the offer is “limited.” Beware of requests for checking account numbers.
  • Sweepstakes, gambling, and lotteries. Sweepstakes letters lure seniors with promises of “guaranteed prizes.” Marketers of gambling and lotteries target the elderly.
  • Health and medical fraud. Simply put, never invest in health-care products or treatments without first consulting with a doctor or pharmacist.

Financial fraud. Living trust scams, investment fraud, pyramid schemes, phoney “associations,” and the “bank examiner scheme” are all commonly aimed at elderly people. Make sure your mum has a comprehensive financial plan for her personal investments, insurance and estate. A reputable financial planner can help her put her affairs in order. Then it should be easy and automatic to say no to all solicitations.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

Share

Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

MORE

MARRIAGE

article-m-Warning-Signs-Of-An-Affair

Warning Signs Of An Affair

Can you recognise the symptoms of a troubled marriage? Most extramarital affairs do not start out with the candid revelations, but there are certainly overt factors that can lead to marital unfaithfulness.

Read More >

PARENTING

Disciplining Children

Parenthood can be frustrating, especially when you don’t have a game plan. Explore how you can effectively raise disciplined children with 6 guidelines to discipline and a healthy parenting approach.

Read More >

20 Guilt-Free Resolutions

If you’re anything like us, you’ve finally crossed off your remaining New Year’s resolution from last year – because you admit you’ll never do it. This year, don’t reach for the impossible, try our 20 guilt-free resolutions for parents!

Read More >

FAMILY Q&A