Sadly, abuse and neglect of the elderly in the United States is a growing problem – and one that we all must be concerned about and work to resolve. After all, if everything works out as planned, we will all be among the elderly at some point in time, right? While you are likely aware of the overall elder abuse problem, you may not know that financial abuse is actually the most common form of elder abuse. In fact, experts estimate that as many as five million instances of financial exploitation of older individuals occur each year in the U.S. If you are the loved one of an elderly person, or you are enjoying your own retirement, the Garden City elder law attorneys at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia want to help you avoid becoming a victim by offering you tips on how to avoid scams.
Beware of Social Media
In today’s electronic age, it is rare to find anyone – of any age – who does not have some type of social media presence. Grandparents are even getting into the action just so they can keep up with what the grandkids are doing. Unfortunately, people over the age of about 40 only have a passing knowledge of how most social media platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter, operate. The privacy settings, in particular, remain a mystery to the older generation. Predators are aware of this and use it to their advantage. You would be surprised at the amount of personal information a scam artists can gather just by following a victim on social media. That information is then used to run a scam. A popular one is known as the “Granny scam” and involves a phone call to an older individual by someone claiming to be a grandchild or friend of the grandchild. With just enough information gathered from social media, the caller tells grandma that he/she need money for bail, to fix a vehicle, or some other emergency that occurred while on vacation. Grandma then wires the money and the predator is never heard from again. The easiest way to avoid this scam is to be vigilant about keeping your privacy settings private. Doing so prevents the public from being able to see your posts and, therefore, your personal information.
Never Give Out Information Over the Phone
Predators know that the elderly tend to be more trusting. When someone calls and says they are from the bank, for example, and an older individual is much more apt to take that claim at face value than his/her younger counterpart. There may have been a time when it was safe to give out personal information over the phone; however, if there was, it is over. Do not give anyone your social security number, bank account information, passwords, or other personal information over the phone. If you get a call claiming to be someone who might have a legitimate need for your personal information, tell them you will call them back. Find the correct number and call back yourself to find out if the call was legitimate.
Be Careful Who You Allow in Your Home
As the natural aging process sets in, you may need help around the house. Make sure you conduct a background check on anyone you allow in your home. The reality is that doing so is necessary in this day and age and will go a long way toward preventing you from becoming the victim of a scam. Do not assume that an agency has conducted a proper background check. Take the time to do one yourself.
Contact Our Garden City Elder Law Attorneys
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have questions or concerns about how to prevent becoming the victim of a scam, contact an experienced Garden City elder law attorney at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.