The growing incidence of senior scams is putting many older adults in harm's way, threatening to strip them of their assets, their independence and their trust. Through his Connect With Kleck resources, Dan Kleckner has compiled a scam checklist. This checklist is meant to give seniors, and everyone else, a reference point when it comes to spotting a scam, speaking to a scammer, and ultimately, preventing that scam. You can laminate this checklist if preferred, and place it by the phone, next to the computer, or on an office desk— places where it can be easily referenced.
Cons against older adults aren't always acts of blatant theft. They can be subtle, like the retailer who over- charges an uninformed older adult or an individual who bills for a service he or she did not provide. A 2011 MetLife Study has identified three elder financial abuse strategies: crimes of occasion, crimes of desperation and crimes of predation.
Crimes of occasion, or opportunity, are incidents of financial abuse or exploitation that occur because the victim is merely in the way of what the perpetrator wants. The elder has money, assets, and the like, and an occasion presents itself for the perpetrator to avail him or herself of the resource.
Crimes of desperation are typically those in which family members or friends become so desperate for money that they will do whatever it takes to get it. Many of these family members are dependent on the senior for resources. The exploiting family member or friend comes to believe that, in return for care (actual or perceived and however little that care may be), he or she is due compensation (money, possessions, etc.).
Crimes of predation, or occupation, occur when trust is engendered specifically for the intention of financial abuse later. A relationship is built, either through a bond of trust created by developing a relationship or as a trusted professional advisor. The taking of assets is by stealth and cunning.
Financial Abuse Tactics
When seniors don't realize they are being swindled and the perpetrator knows no one is there to monitor the senior's transactions, large losses can result.
Top 5 Reasons Why Seniors are Targets
Never underestimate the resourcefulness of scammers. Some drive around neighborhoods during the day, looking for older adults working in the yard or getting their mail. Scammers make a note of addresses, return and try to sell the seniors on an unnecessary repair, such as getting their roofs fixed.
Maybe it's time to sit down with your senior loved one and calmly talk about scammers. If you and your senior live in different cities, it's a good idea to contact other relatives, friends and neighbors who could periodically check on them.