Financially secure elders are also in a high-risk category for fraud, as thieves may presume that years of saving could equate to a healthy checking account. Older adults who are social isolated and those who are unaware of a decline in cognition may also be at increased risk for financial exploitation. An MIT study pointed to another reason for elder susceptibility to fraud stemming from a higher level of trust among older adults. It is important to note that, a study from the financial organization True Link found that older adults who get multiple daily telemarketing calls are likely to experience three times as much financial loss as someone who receives the occasional telemarketing call.
The FBI reports that elder victims of scams often do not report telemarketing fraud. Law enforcement professionals acknowledge that the underreporting may be due to feelings of shame at being scammed.
The elder may also avoid discussing a fraudulent act out of concern that family may intercede too aggressively by having the elder feel that their independence may be threatened.
To help minimize the risk for fraud, heed that adage that if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is not true. A general rule is to not to share information regarding access to financial information over the phone.
If a caller offers a prize, request that information be mailed to a home address for further review. If told that an immediate response is needed in order to receive the cash reward or prize, then decline the offer.
If the caller discourages investigating the company by discussing with family or a reputable consumer protection company, then it’s best to hang up. Those who serve as their loved one’s financial proxy, it is strongly encouraged that you connect with a financial specialist to learn about the most effective practices for protection from potential scams.
Marci Vandersluis is a licensed social worker and has a master’s degree in gerontology. She is employed as a care manager assisting older adults in the community connect with needed services. Email: email@example.com.
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Report fraud to the AARP Foundation:
Better Business Bureau, report a suspected scam:
National Do Not Call Registry:
Ohio Attorney General: