Senior citizens make up 30 percent of consumer fraud victims and 50 percent of telephone fraud victims. Seniors involved in the scams often don’t report it because they feel embarrassed, or they don’t realize they’ve been scammed.
Here are some fraud prevention tips for seniors from the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants:
Buy from well-known companies. The adage, “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is,” can be taken as excellent advice. Buying from companies with positive reputations helps to avoid encounters with fraudulent businesses.
Avoid untrustworthy purchases. Do not engage in transactions over the phone or with door to door salespeople. The most common scams that involve seniors occur over the phone. They include sweepstakes and lottery scams, the grandparent scam (in which a fake grandchild calls for money) and telemarketing scams, including fake charity scams.
Carefully read all contracts and offers. With many seniors increasingly being independent from family members, their children and/or other family members should have some level of vigilance in terms of the financial affairs of the senior. For example, if the senior has a major life change (such as the death of a spouse), a change in financial advisers, movement to a new residence, purchase of additional assets, onset of illness, new home health care aids, etc., family members should make inquiries and monitor mail and phone messages. The senior should maintain a healthy level of skepticism for his or her own financial well-being.