Elder fraud is a growing challenge that senior citizens increasingly face, which often go unreported. While seniors are not the only ones who get scammed, they are certainly an attractive target for fraudsters for many reasons – they often stay in their own homes, have a safety net in investments, and are often more trusting than the younger generation when it comes to strangers. Moreover, elderly theft victims are always hesitant to accept that they have been duped because they feel embarrassed or frightened to be seen as vulnerable and incapable of handling their own affairs.

That being said, it needs to be known and understood that elderly care doesn’t just cover health, but other aspects like physical, social, financial and emotional needs as well. These issues may not be highlighted too frequently, but they are equally important. Today, financial exploitation is one of the fastest growing forms of elder abuse and as per studies, around 90 per cent of perpetrators are people whom the victims know and trust.

If you’re an elderly caregiver, you would definitely understand the significance of these shocking statistics and also understand why it’s putting a stop to this is the need of the hour. If you’re a senior citizen yourself, it is wrong to think that this will never happen to you. Elderly financial abuse is real and it can happen to anyone. Therefore, it is vital and useful to know the risks and how to prevent them. Before we delve into it, however, let’s look at the types of scams that the elderly can fall prey to:

  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scams
  • Medicare phone scams
  • Silent calls and robocall scams
  • Charity scams
  • Counterfeit prescription medication
  • Funeral scams
  • Grandparent scams
  • Sweepstakes scams
  • Tech support scams
  • Sweetheart scams
  • Fake check scams

Fraudsters employ multiple methods to trap older adults and lure them into going along with their schemes. They may come across as polite, compassionate and keen to help in some cases, or use the fear factor in others. The strategies of con artists change depending upon the situation they find themselves in with the senior.

What Family Caregivers Can Do to Protect Their Loved Ones

1. Check in On a Regular Basis

Keep tabs on the financial situation of your senior loved one. Discuss financial transactions, bills and emails or review them. That way you’ll get to know what’s normal compared to activities that raise a red flag.

2. Talk to Your Elderly Loved One About Such Scams

Educate yourself and your senior loved ones about the different types of scams and help them understand how they are susceptible to fraud and the ways in which they can be duped. Older adults may not be aware that people would do such terrible things or that they can be so sneaky and clever. Therefore, educating them about it and helping them identify a scam is important.

3. Designate a Trusted Person to Handle Their Finances

If you are capable of handling your loved ones’ finances, there’s nothing like it. But if you aren’t, make sure the responsibility of a financial advisor is given to someone you and your loved ones know well and can trust. If a financial advisor handles yours or your loved ones’ assets, then the fraudster will have to go through them first and tricking a financial advisor will be difficult.

4. Set Up Safeguards at the Bank

If your loved ones’ financial decision-making concerns you, set up a small account at a local bank for them. For example, that account could include a debit card and have a certain spending limit. This way, other finances, if any, can be saved in a more secure account.

5. Vet Your Loved Ones’ Caregivers

It’s fine if you’re a family caregiver, but if you have hired an elderly caregiver for your loved one, then you need to make sure that you’ve hired the right one. Most caregivers are compassionate, caring people who are dedicated to the safety and well-being of their patients. However, there are also those who take advantage of their position to financially exploit the elderly. Unfortunately, many older adults avoid reporting such frauds because they are, in some way or another, dependent upon their caregivers. In such a situation, family members must encourage them to report even the smallest thing that may seem out of sorts. Family should also monitor the caregiver’s schedule on a daily basis.

Author's Bio: 

The author of this article has the best knowledge for the elder fraud. Author has shared the information to help everyone.