Telephone scams aimed at the elderly aren’t anything new, with an astounding $36 billion lost every year to financial abuse. And the current senior fraud danger circulating is hard for most seniors to recognize until it’s too late. Center for Elder Law and Justice attorney Nicole K. Parshall explains, “There is always a new variation of a phone scam. Scammers are very good at developing new tactics in order to engage with specific types of individuals.”
The latest company to watch out for is Utility Savings Expert, which claims to cut seniors’ utility, phone, cable, along with other monthly bills in half. Seniors are invited to simply share account information from the bill they would love to reduce. The organization then actually pays off the balance in full, with the arrangement that the senior will reimburse half of the cost by wire transfer only – no checks or credit cards accepted.
When the older adult’s funds have been received, the company reverses the charge to the phone or utility company, making the senior liable yet again for the full amount – and the additional 50% they have paid to the scammers.
Older adults are constant targets of con artists, for a number of reasons: expected vulnerability, accumulated wealth over a lifetime, and a sense of politeness and good manners that could limit their ability to seem rude to a caller, to name a few. Additionally, recent research from Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research revealed a decline of as much as one percent per year after age 60 in decision-making abilities, further contributing to the risk of falling for phone scams and senior fraud.
So just how are you able to protect your older family members from falling prey to highly sophisticated, and quite often believable scams such as these? The Federal Trade Commission urges people to never take part in business with an unknown entity. Another red flag arises when an organization requests a wire transfer as payment. Screening calls and just answering those from known and trusted sources – and hanging up immediately on anyone who calls asking for personal or financial information – is also advised.
Regrettably, many seniors fall victim to senior fraud scams simply because they’re lonely and enjoy the opportunity to talk to someone on the telephone. Midnight Sun Home Care, providers of the highest rated home care services in Anchorage, AK, can alleviate senior loneliness and lower the possibility of a senior scam with the help of our professional in-home care companionship and caregiving assistance. Contact us at (907) 677-7890 to learn more about how we can keep your senior family members safe and sound.