Kyle’s 84-year-old father called with good news: He had won a sweepstake! He just needed to pay a fee to collect a very large cash prize. Kyle was instantly suspicious. “Dad, this sounds like a scam. Did you even enter a sweepstakes?”
“I must have, or I couldn’t have won.”
“Real contests don’t ask winners to pay fees. Don’t give them any money.”
Unfortunately, Kyle’s dad had already paid. He called back a few days later.
“You were right. It was a scam. The FBI called to ask me to help them catch these guys.”
“Yes, I just have to withdraw more money and put it in another account so they can track the scammers. After they’re caught, I’ll get all my money back.”
Elderly adults, like Kyle’s father, lose billions of dollars to scammers every year. Their trusting nature and often diminished judgment can make them easy targets. And if they fall for one scam, they will probably be hit up again.
Here’s how to help protect your aging parents from becoming victims:
Know the possible scams:
- Phony contests.
- Fake Social Security or Medicare reps asking for personal information – either in person or on the phone.
- Offers for free or discount medications.
- Door-to-door salespeople who say something is wrong with their house (the ducts, the gutters, etc.) and needs to be fixed immediately.
Ways to prevent elderly people from falling victim to a scam:
- Explain it to them. Remind them not to trust strangers and to call you before they pay a lot of money for something.
- Have their phone number unlisted or disconnect their landline.
- Check credit card bills for unusual charges and monitor credit reports.
Kyle’s dad lost almost $2,500. But it could have been worse. To learn more ways to protect your aging parents from scams, or to learn more about our professional in-home care services for seniors, contact SYNERGY HomeCare, one of the leading providers of non-medical home care in Chicago, IL and the surrounding area. You can reach us any time at 877-432-2692 to request a free in-home consultation to learn more about how we can help you.