Phone scams geared toward the elderly are nothing new, with an astonishing $36 billion lost each year to financial abuse. And the latest senior con circulating is difficult for most seniors to detect until it’s too late, and helping elderly parents get back money lost isn’t an option. Center for Elder Law and Justice attorney Nicole K. Parshall explains, “There is always a new variation of a phone scam. Scammers are very good at developing new tactics in order to engage with specific types of individuals.”
The latest company to watch out for is Utility Savings Expert, which claims to cut seniors’ utility, phone, cable, and other regular bills in half. Seniors are requested just to share account information from the bill they’d prefer to reduce. The business then actually pays off the balance in full, with the understanding that the senior will reimburse half of the cost by wire transfer only – no checks or bank cards accepted.
After the older adult’s funds have already been received, the organization reverses the charge to the phone or utility company, making the senior liable once more for the full amount – and the additional 50% they’ve paid to the scammers.
Older adults are constant targets of con artists, for a number of reasons: expected vulnerability, accumulated wealth over a lifetime, and a sense of courtesy and manners that may limit their capability to appear rude to a caller, in order to name a few. Additionally, recent research from Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research revealed a decline of as much as 1 percent per year after age 60 in decision-making abilities, further contributing to the possibility of falling for phone scams and fraud.
So how could you protect your older family members from falling prey to very sophisticated, and frequently believable scams such as these? The Federal Trade Commission advises people to never take part in dealing with an unfamiliar business. Another red flag occurs when a business asks for a wire transfer as payment. Screening calls and just answering those from known and trustworthy sources – and hanging up immediately on anyone who calls asking for personal or financial information – is also advised.
The fact is, many seniors fall victim to scams simply because they’re lonely and enjoy the opportunity to talk to someone on the phone. Providers of the home care Charlotte, NC families can trust, Comprehensive Home Care can alleviate senior loneliness and reduce the chance of a senior scam with our professional in-home care companionship and caregiving assistance. Call us at 704-333-5214 or contact us online for more information on how our Charlotte home health services are able to keep your senior family members secure and safe.