Spam comes in many forms: telephone calls, emails, mail, or even in-person solicitations. And to be honest, not all spam contacts are bad. It could be something of interest or a good deal for the right person. But what makes it spam in the first place is that it’s unsolicited. The unfortunate reality, however, is that for the elderly who might be living in an assisted living community this contact may be the only interaction they have these days. That phone call may seem like company or companionship to someone who is in desperate need to feel listened to or needed. Unscrupulous companies and individuals prey on this need and target the elderly every day.
Elder fraud statistics are staggering, with 1 in 10 senior citizens falling victim in the last year alone. And to be truthful, this is a low estimate as many trusting seniors are unlikely to even report instances of fraud. For this reason, it’s more important than ever that loved ones and the seniors themselves are aware of the various means criminals are willing to go to separate individuals from their money. If your loved one lives in assisted living apartments or by themselves in Walnut Creek, CA, make them aware of the below schemes and scams targeting the elderly.
Grandparents love nothing more than to hear from loved ones, especially their grandchildren. So, when one surprisingly calls and says, “Hey Grammy! Guess who!” they automatically assume it’s one of their grandchildren and guess the one who sounds most like the caller. This then gives a scammer a false identity with no research and an instant bond. After a little small talk, the caller will ask for money to fix some financial issue that’s befallen them such as past-due rent, car repairs, or bail to get out of jail. Then, they downright beg the grandparent not to tell their parents or anyone else because they’re too ashamed. Most of the time, the callers will ask to have the money sent to them with gift cards or money transfer because these forms don’t require ID to collect, and the elderly person will have no way to ever have the money refunded.
It’s easy for scammers to target the elderly concerning their insurance coverage. Because it’s a known fact that American citizens over the age of 65 are eligible for Medicare, it takes no effort to get basic insurance information. The guise can come in many forms, mostly by phone calls to the elderly who are residing in assisted living in California. They state they’re calling from Medicare and that the card issued to the recipient is expiring and a new one needs to be sent out. But, they want to “verify” the information on file, including the senior’s address and personal banking information. From there, it’s an easy step to identity theft and withdrawals from a checking account. Entire accounts can be wiped out because of a single call.
Auto dialing technology has emerged as a top way of targeting senior citizens in California. These robotic calling firms dial individuals all over the country, often themselves in other areas of the world. Some may claim to be checking on an expiring car or electronics warranty and they need payment to renew it. Still, others will repeat the phrase, “Can you hear me?” so that when the resident answers yes, the caller records that affirmative yes and is thereby able to secure a voice signature to make unwanted purchases.
WHAT TO DO?
With so many scam variants in the marketplace today, families and friends may wonder what they can do to help keep their loved ones safe from predatory practices. Following are some tips experts recommend to help in these trying times.
- Routine Phone Calls – Staying involved in a senior’s life and up to date on their day-to-day activities will go a long way to prevent financial scams.
- Open Communication – By discussing the dangers and tactics of unsavory businesses, the elderly themselves become aware of what to be on the lookout for. They can be told to look out for government agency phone calls or lottery winning notifications that are primarily false.
- Gain Copies of their Credit File – If you help with their finances, routinely get copies of their credit report to track any unauthorized accounts that may have been opened. Further, touch base with their bank to set up safeguards against numerous or large withdrawals.
ABOUT TIFFANY COURT of Walnut Creek
At Tiffany Court of Walnut Creek, we offer an elegantly furnished senior living community with 57 assisted living suites, as well as respite care. Our skilled, friendly, and compassionate team members are available 24 hours a day to deliver personalized service for every resident. Residents enjoy restaurant-style dining, a range of social and educational activities, an in-house beauty salon, activity room, transportation for errands and appointments, laundry, and housekeeping. We like to say, everything you need meets everything you love, at Tiffany Court of Walnut Creek located in historic Walnut Creek, CA.