Common Financial Scams of the Elderly

Telemarketing Fraud: According to the US Dept. of Justice, telemarketing fraud accounts for $40 billion in fake transactions per year - 80% of the victims are 50 and older! These scams are perpetrated by phone calls promising lottery winnings, discount sales of bogus goods and services, 'free trips,' investment opportunities, and other deals that are literally 'too good to be true.'

One example of this type of common financial scam targeting the elderly occurred recently in Canada. The telemarketers promised a windfall lottery winning if the elderly victim simply paid the 'fees and taxes.' This scam took an estimated $1 billion dollars per year from the victims.

Unsolicited home repairs: Scammers watch the obituaries, select an elderly widow or widower, and appear at the door of their unsuspecting victim. The perpetrators are often in teams and may even be driving a construction-type vehicle. The general approach they use is an offer to 'fix' something broken or in disrepair that they noticed as they drove by the home. They will want payment up-front, and make only cosmetic changes to the house at best.

Sweetheart Scams: Obituaries are also used in these elderly scams to identify widows and widowers. The perpetrator will then act as a suitor to gain information about and access to bank accounts, credit cards, property deeds, and even personal property (such as jewelry) within the home.

If you suspect any of these scams, contact the police and call our office to discuss possible alternatives for remedying financial losses.

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