Scams Targeting Seniors
An elderly man receives a phone call from someone identifying themselves as an employee at the Las Vegas jail. The caller tells the man that his grandson was arrested for DWI and cannot be released without a $1,500 payment. When the man asks for details the caller says that grandson is not allowed to use the phone and the payment is needed immediately, and that the man should send a pre-paid credit card to a post office box. The elderly man, frightened for his grandson, rushes out to buy the card and sends it as instructed. He has been scammed. Grandson is fine and has no idea of the exchange. The elderly man will never be able to recover the $1,500 and he feels foolish.
You can visit the National Council’s website at www.ncoa.org for a complete list of the most common scams targeting seniors. Watch out for the following, which are the most depraved:
Funeral and Cemetery Scams. Scammers read obituaries and call or attend the funeral of a complete stranger. The scammer claims that the deceased had an outstanding debt with them, and tries to extort money from a grieving widow or widower or other family members. Disreputable funeral homes can also try to add costs onto funerals by pressuring the grieving family member to purchase items that are not necessary or costly.
Charity scams. Money is solicited for fake charities.
Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams. Perhaps you’ve seen the movie, “Nebraska.” Scammers tell the senior that they have won a lottery or sweepstakes, but have to make a payment for taxes before the prize money can be paid. Most frightening, scammers offer to direct deposit the funds in the senior’s bank account and acquire the account number. This can be particularly devastating, because the scammer can continue to withdraw funds from the account.
If you have been the victim of financial abuse, you are not alone. Contact the local police, your bank or Adult Protective Services. If the money can be recovered, you can hire a lawyer to initiate a civil lawsuit.