Just recently I have added some of our Made to Stay Seniors to the “Do Not Call” list online, so that they hopefully will not receive as many scam calls. I have included a direct link to the site, at the bottom of this article. Also, I have been discussing with several of them; the risks to be aware of and that are out there.
Though there are various scams targeting seniors in particular, the top 10 senior-targeted scams, according to the National Council on Aging, are:
- healthcare insurance fraud
- counterfeit prescription drugs
- funeral and cemetery scams
- fraudulent anti-aging products
- telemarketing fraud
- Internet and email fraud
- investment schemes
- homeowner or mortgage scams
- sweepstakes and lottery scams
- the grandparent scam
You can help prevent your loved one from becoming a victim by taking the following six steps:
- Stay involved in your loved one’s life. Check in regularly to ensure that nothing is out of the ordinary and that someone doesn’t have undue influence on his or her behavior and decision-making.
- Partner with your loved one’s financial institution. Set up a small bank account at a local financial institution for your senior’s spending so that his or her funds are in a secure account. Also, you can make arrangements with your loved one’s bank to receive account statements and alert so you can monitor for any unusual activity.
- Opt out of phone and mail solicitations. A lot of scams come through the mail or over the phone. You can help prevent them from reaching your loved one over the phone by “Do Not Call” list. Similarly, you can prevent fraudulent mail from reaching your loved one’s mailbox for up to five years at a time with the Direct Marketing Association’s mail preference service.
- Embrace the benefits of digital transactions. Instead of having benefit checks mailed to your loved one’s house, use direct deposit. This simple step prevents your loved one’s benefits from being snatched from his or her mailbox or house.
- Put your research cap on. When your loved one wants to make a purchase of some sort, help him or her shop around—and carefully read any contracts or purchasing agreements before making a purchase.
- Take it to the shredder. Identity theft is a growing industry, to say the least. To help protect your loved one’s private info—like credit card numbers, social security numbers, and bank account info—use a paper shredder to destroy any receipts and other documents with this info.