Elder fraud is a type of abuse that targets senior citizens. A perpetrator sees an older person as being vulnerable enough that they could deceive them out of their money. Usually, seniors who are targets of this type of crime are wealthy and retired. However, some are not so financially well off, which can affect them negatively if the scheme is successful.
How does elder fraud occur?
When it comes to elder fraud, family members or friends have easy access to their senior loved ones. For example, a grandchild might claim that they need money, but they keep turning to the person for more and more. Someone who poses as a close friend of the victim might fool them into making them their financial power of attorney and get their hands on their finances.
While the perpetrator in an elder abuse scam is usually someone the victim knows, a total stranger can also commit the crime. There are many common scams that involve phone calls to elderly people claiming to be from a legitimate company or well-known governmental institution. If the victim falls for the fraud and gives out their financial information or their Social Security number, it can result in serious trouble.
How can elder fraud be prevented?
An older person’s loved ones should have continuous contact with them. If the person mentions something that sounds suspicious, such as a stranger knocking on their door claiming to be a professional who can check or fix something in their home, guards should immediately go up. Warning elderly people about the dangers of elder fraud can help.
Loved ones should also discuss the person’s financial situation. It’s a red flag for someone to have a lot of money and then suddenly be broke. These are the kinds of people who might be the target of an elder fraud scam.