Scamming The Elderly

There are quite a few con artists out there who would take advantage of the elderly, especially around the holidays. One problem is that seniors deny that they are vulnerable and at risk. A Wells Fargo survey said that only one in ten seniors felt they were susceptible to being scammed.

Feeling invincible will have many seniors avoiding the conversation with family members about financial issues. This, in turn, can lead to economic disaster if they are taken advantage of by scammers.

New scams pop up every day with the faster pace of technology. Below are some of the latest scams, which makes seniors their target.

Counterfeit prescription drugs

If a senior is on a fixed income, they will try to find ways to save money. Mail order pharmacies can provide some of those savings as long as the medications and companies are legit. If ordering from a mail-order pharmacy, do research to make sure they are legitimate.

Tech support scams

A senior is on their computer, and a pop-up box comes up. It says the computer has been comprised and it’s frozen. There’s a number to call to have it immediately fixed. It can be repaired if the person gives them a credit card number. When the senior call and give them the number, they bill them for repairs when there isn’t anything wrong with your computer.

Funeral and cemetery scams

There are two main scams that are directed towards seniors especially. A scammer will read the obituaries and go to the funeral of someone they don’t know. While there, they will claim the deceased owes them an outstanding debt, and they want to be paid by the grieving family. Another scam is when a dishonest funeral home adds charges, which are unnecessary to get more money.

Homeowner/reverse mortgage scam

Because reverse mortgages are becoming more and more popular scammers are using this to take advantage. A scammer will find public information about a home and send the person who owns the home a letter. The official-looking letter offers to assess what the value of the house is for a fee. Then they take off with the fee money after making a fake assessment.

Sweepstakes and lottery scams

With a lottery scam, the person gets a phone call saying they’ve won a sweepstakes or a lottery. The person explains that money needs to be paid to collect it or bank account information needs to be given. The person never sees the winnings and the scammers makes off with the money they were given.

Handyman scams

A man will appear at the door of a senior and offer to clean the gutters or something simple. But once they begin, they find other non-existing problems that need fixing. They’ll convince the homeowner to pay thousands of dollars for repairs that don’t exist. Once the money is gone, so is the handyman.

Unpaid parking ticket

A person will call claiming they’re from the local law enforcement officers and claim there’s an unpaid parking ticket. They’ll insist that it be paid now, or a bench warrant will go into effect. This way, they get the person’s credit card information or have them purchase a prepaid debit card.


Scammers mainly prey on widows who are elderly. They may present themselves as a new friend and shower them with attention and gifts to gain their affections and confidence. Once the woman has bought expensive gifts and given them money, they disappear leaving the woman broke and destitute.

Keeping an eye on your senior loved one is essential. If you don’t know what’s going on in their lives and finances, once you find out, it may be too late.

—Submitted by Right at Home

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Anton Media Staff
In addition to its arts and entertainment publication Long Island Weekly, Anton Media Group publishes 16 community newspapers, several magazines, specialty publications and websites. With brands dating back to 1877, Anton has a commitment to deliver trusted and relevant content to the communities it serves.

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