Crimes Against the Elderly
As vigilant as we all try to be, criminals seem to always be one step ahead. Between fake phone calls, internet and social media scams, there are more and more instances of crimes against the elderly. There are identity thefts, and theft within our homes.
Tips for staying safe
Do not answer you phone if there is an unknown caller number on your smart phone. If it is a legitimate call, people will leave a message - a scammer will not. No legitimate organization will ask for private information over the phone or for you to send money, debit cards or other methods of cash. If you do answer the call and have any doubt, just hang up. Do not engage in a conversation, Check out this article published by the NCOA, National Council on Aging - Top 10 Financial Scams Targeting Seniors.
Set up notifications on your credit card to text or email you when you use your credit card to donate or make an online purchase If you do not get the notification within minutes, contact your credit card company to put a hold on the transaction. It is most likely a scam. Kiplinger's article written my Miriam Cross, 6 Scams that Prey on the Elderly is a must read.
Not all scams are over the phone
Fake “repair and utility workers” are taking advantage of the vulnerable and elderly showing up on doorsteps claiming to have gotten orders to fix something. Keep the worker outside while you make an independent call to the company to see if they have sent someone. Ask to see proper identification and most importantly, do not open the door. If you do walk outside with any worker to see something, take you keeps and lock your door behind you.
Additional Resources: Information from the FBI about Elder Fraud