It is sad, but true. All sorts of people commit crimes, for all sorts of reasons. One thing that many criminals have in common, however, is that they are bullies. Predators prey on people who are weak, or vulnerable. Unfortunately, that means they often target Older Americans. The good news is that you can reduce the chances of becoming a victim for yourself, or an aging loved one, if you know what to look out for.
Do you know what a predator is when it comes to possible elder exploitation? In this context, a predator is someone who specifically targets Older Americans who may be easily tricked, or manipulated, usually for financial gain. He or she may try to get the senior’s money through some sort of scam, or access to important personal information
By contrast, opportunists also take advantage of Older Americans for financial gain. The main difference is that they do not deliberately set out to do so. When a chance to take or misuse the senior’s money comes up, they will simply take it. Another important distinction is that predators are usually, but not always, strangers. Opportunists are usually, but not always, friends, family or caregivers.
This February saw an increase in scams targeting Older Americans. Whether this is because of Valentine’s Day or another reason, we still need to try our best to stay vigilant at all times. Let us share a few of the most common scams targeting Older Americans right now.
1. Tech support scams. In this scenario, the scammer calls the target and tries to convince him or her that something is wrong with his or her computer. The criminal then asks for remote access to the computer to check. Once an issue is “found”, he or she tries to convince the target to send money for “repairs” and services. In reality, there are no issues with the computer, so there is no need for any repairs.
2. Lottery scams. This type of scam involves predators emailing or calling the targets to let them know they have “won” the lottery or a sweepstakes. The perpetrators then tell the targets to pay various fees to get their winnings. When the targets do so, they get nothing in return, other than more requests for money.
3. IRS scams. Through this con, someone calls or emails the target claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS. The predator often uses fake credentials and informs the target that he or she owes money to the IRS. The predator then demands payment via wire transfer or another similar method. Targets who hesitate or refuse to comply are often subjected to threats and intimidation. Know now that the IRS will never call you.
We want you to know what makes leads to Older Americans being more vulnerable as a population. A predator’s decision has nothing to do with the senior’s intelligence. Instead, he or she may simply be vulnerable because the senior is perceived to be:
- Dependent on others due to disability or illness
- More trusting
- Not technologically savvy
As you age, we can help you identify areas of concern. We can also put legal safeguards in place to reduce the likelihood that a predator or opportunist takes advantage of you. Please know that you can call our law firm to schedule a consultation at any time on this or any other elder care issue concerning you, or your aging loved ones, right now.