Fighting Elderly Fraud

There are a staggering number of financial scams in our society, and many are aimed toward taking advantage of the elderly. If you are senior citizen or have a loved one who is, it is important to familiarize yourself with some of the ways in which people are seeking to take money from vulnerable seniors. Below is a list of elderly financial scams from an informative Bankrate article.

Health care scams – People may call pretending to be healthcare representatives and ask for personal information. They can use this information for any number of things, including filing fraudulent medical claims and taking the money.

Dishonest financial advisers – Untrustworthy advisers may try to take extra distributions for themselves. Checking account statements regularly can help you see if this is happening. Fortunately, Financial Symmetry, Inc. (FSI) clients have many protections in place to prevent this from ever happening. FSI never holds client assets directly, and cash from Pershing investment accounts can only be sent directly to the account owner. Any other withdrawal has multiple layers of protection before funds will be sent out, including verbal confirmation and signature from the client, a signature from FSI, and then detailed screening by Pershing.

Great grandchild scams – Scammers get information about an elderly individual from the internet and then call or email pretending to be a grandchild that needs money.

Prescription drug and anti-aging drug scams – There are fraudulent websites that say that they sell prescription drugs or anti-aging items for a great deal; however, these “companies” will send fake products or – in some cases – no product at all. A great piece of advice from the Bankrate article is “If it’s too good to be true, it is.”

Obituary scams – Some scammers read obituaries and then call or visit family members of the deceased stating that the deceased owed them money that must be repaid immediately.

Funeral scams and cemetery plot scams – Dishonest funeral homes may add on extra charges that an unsuspecting payer might not notice.

Another blog post on avoiding elderly fraud by Chad Smith, CFP® can be found here.

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