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Elder Abuse Fraud

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Elder abuse comes in many different forms. One form of elder abuse is financial fraud. It may be disturbing to discover how vulnerable an older friend or loved one can be to old-fashioned con games that arrive over the internet, through the mail or by phone. It’s important for family members and friends to understand why older adults are at risk and what steps can be taken to minimize the chances of their elders becoming fraud victims.

Seniors may be taken in by certain cons because they are too trusting or don’t want to seem rude. Some warning signs include constant phone calls, piles of promotional materials and letters that proclaim they are a “guaranteed winner!”, receipts from wire transfer services and overnight shipments, and acting distressed or reluctant to talk. A few scams that target seniors are: Sweepstakes and Foreign Lottery Scams, Psychics Scams, Telemarketing Scams, Investment Scams and Charity Scams.

In order to protect family or friends, there are several steps that can be taken. Find family members, neighbors, doctors, and other friends to join your effort to stop the scams. Reduce telemarketing and robocalls. Take advantage of free call-blocking services from the phone company, or purchase a call-blocking device. Volunteer to help your older family member balance their checkbook, and question large withdrawals, payments to wire-transfer services or checks made out to cash. Monitor their financial accounts. AARP and the American Bankers Association recommend that older adults allow view-only access to their accounts so a trusted friend or family member can see – but not access – their funds.

Most people don’t have access to an older parent or friend’s accounts until their loved one becomes ill or incapacitated. By waiting until then, friends and family might discover too late the tragic extent to which a senior has been victimized. Active intervention as soon as fraud is discovered is critical. Visit our website www.DeliveringTrust.com for tips on how to create a fraud safety net for your loved ones.

Posted by Postal Inspection Service on 31 May 2018