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FraudAvengers July Newsletter!

This Month's Focus - Elder Fraud Abuse

Seniors are targets for countless forms of fraud, ranging from simple home repair scams, to more complex investment and insurance fraud. Perpetrators include family, friends, neighbors, caregivers, financial advisors and strangers.    

Opportunists see the "golden years" as primetime to rob all the savings and good credit seniors spent a lifetime accumulating.  The impact can have far-reaching and immeasurable effects.  It can threaten an elder's health and dignity.  It can leave a victim emotionally devastated and financially destitute.  It can tear families apart.  

Remember, the first line of defense starts with you.  The information listed below could help you identify if this insidious crime is affecting you or someone you know.  

Top Scams Targeting Seniors

According to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) the top scams aimed at elders include:

  • Work from Home - Jobs listed in newspapers, online job sites, emails and social networking sites, promising jobs to seniors as "money transfer agents" abroad.  
  • Government Official Impersonation - Scams range from fraudsters purporting to be from the FBI, Social Security, Medicare or other federal agencies all demanding money.
  • Loan Intimidation - Phone calls or emails threatening arrest or legal action for delinquent loans.  These often target personal information used to commit identity theft.
  • Romance - Taking advantage of lonely hearts, scammers will claim personal hardship and the need for financial help.
  • Auto Auctions - Fraudsters advertise vehicles at "too good to be true" prices.  This scam uses a "must sell quickly" tactic and demands full or partial payment through a third party.

Warning Signs of Elder Financial Exploitation 

  • Changes in appearance or demeanor, either physical or mental, or excitement about winning a sweepstakes or lottery.
  • Recent changes or additions of authorized signers on a vulnerable adult's bank accounts or changes to the signatures on checks.
  • Unusual financial activity, such as repeated cash withdrawals or uncommon use of ATM or credit cards.
  • Changes to legal or financial documents including power of attorney, wills, trusts or life insurance policies.
  • A sudden transfer of assets to a family member, financial advisor or other individual outside the family.
  • Unpaid bills or notices of utility shut-off.
  • Missing personal belongings, including art, jewelry, or silver.
  • Sales of assets and/or property.

Top Three Reasons why Financial Elder Frauds Go Unreported

  • Shame on the part of the victims. 
  • Ability of con artists to string victims along until it's too late.
  • Failure of adult children to spot the problem and intervene.

Take Action - Get Help for Financial Elder Abuse

Should you suspect an elder is being abused, visit the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) for a list of reporting agencies in your state.  If you believe the elder is in immediate physical danger, contact the police by calling 911.  If you are a victim of elder abuse, file a police report, especially if personally identifiable information, such as social security or medical identification numbers, have been disclosed to others, and contact your financial institution(s) to protect your deposit accounts, credit cards, loans and lines of credit.

Your voice counts.  Help us educate others on how they can protect themselves and identify current fraud and scams.  You can: 

We look forward to hearing from you on how we can make a more valuable resource for you, your family, your company or your organization.  Please feel free to send us your feedback and ideas.

Remember, the first line of defense starts with you! 

Robin Slade, President & CEO
Jodi Pratt, Director of Business Development
Michele Edson, Director of Industry Relations

If You Think You Are Being Scammed

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