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    Ways to Help our Older Loved Ones Avoid Scams

    With the proliferation of technology in our lives it is easy to forget how easy it is for a scam to reach us and our loved ones on the phone, internet or in person. Con artists look for victims they believe are vulnerable. Understanding how and what types of scams are out there can help you and your loved ones avoid common rip-offs. The more you know, the better you can protect yourself or a loved one. The following are some of the most common schemes perpetrated against seniors, and advice for taking action so you or your older loved one doesn’t become a victim.

    GRANDPARENT SCAM

    A victim receives a call from a young adult pretending to be a grandchild who is in trouble, perhaps in jail in another city or country while on spring break. The imposter tells grandma not to tell his parents because he doesn't want them to know. He tells grandma to send money immediately.
    How to Avoid:
    First, call the child's parents to determine whether the situation is real. Don’t feel pressured that you HAVE to give information immediately. Make sure your older loved ones know to never give financial or personal information over the telephone.

    SWEETHEART SCAM

    Women and men over age 60 are the number one targets of sweetheart scams, which can happen in person or online. Con artists convince the victims that they are in love and proceed to extract money from them over a period of time. The scam usually ends when the victim's retirement savings account has been drained.
    How to Avoid:
    Use common sense. Know the risks of online dating. Be honest with yourself about whether the relationship can actually be real. Keep friends and family apprised of your new social interests. Never transfer money to someone you've never met. If you suspect fraud, consult a law enforcement official.

    LOTTERY AND SWEEPSTAKES SCAMS

    Callers trick victims into thinking they've won money or prizes, but in order to get it, they need to send money to cover taxes, insurance or bank fees first. Or, the caller requests bank information including pin numbers so that the “winnings” can be added to their bank account.
    How to Avoid:
    Never send money to people or organizations you don't know. For Caregivers; be wary of calls, messages and mails with requests for information like social security numbers and bank accounts. Report suspicious activity to some of the resources listed at the end of this article.

    CHARITY SCAM

    Callers or mail solicitations ask for donations to fund humanitarian causes. This scam is particularly common after disasters and tragedies, pulling on victims' heartstrings to fund criminals' own greed. Just like Scam #3, sometimes they ask for money directly, or will set up a monthly automatic withdrawal from a bank account in order to “keep giving” to a charity.
    How to Avoid:
    Check with your local or state consumer protection agency or the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance (www.give.org ) to ensure any charity organization is legit before giving. As with Scam #3 it is best to report suspicious activity or fraud if discovered so other people do not get taken advantage of.

    HOME IMPROVEMENT SCAMS

    Unscrupulous contractors or traveling con men convince victims they are in dire need of various home repairs. Then they overcharge them or take money before the projects are completed and run. Older homeowners are at risk because they often live in older homes and often can't do repairs themselves.

    How to Avoid:
    Choose a contractor through references. Don't do business with someone just because they've solicited you. Research vendors, ask for references and don't make a full payment up front.

    SUMMARY

    Keeping a look out for possible scams and fraud can be scary especially as we hear stories of new scams that can put our loved ones in financial risk. However; there are several resources available to reach out for more information, to answer questions and to report suspicious activity. These resources can help you protect your loved ones.

    For more information contact:

    Premier Home Health Care Services, Inc.
    www.premierhomehealthcare.com

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