We have been talking about scams both here on the blog and on our social media. Sadly, there are more and more scams out there targeting the elderly and the vulnerable. Be aware and protect your elderly parents from these common scams.
Your best protection is common sense. Be careful what you click on. Don’t be too social on social media.
Be cautious about opening messages or attachments regardless of who sent them. These files can contain viruses or other malware that can compromise your computer’s security. Delete them.
Home Improvement and Contractor Scams:
Do not do business with anyone who approaches you door-door or comes from out of state. In Hurricane season, everyone is vulnerable. Get bid contracts from several contractors and READ them.
Social Security Scam: be aware of fraud scams that target personal information. Identity thieves obtain the personal information of SS beneficiaries and use that information to open a “my Social Security” account on the SSA website. They then use that account to redirect the beneficiary’s check to their own account. Protect your personal information
Protect your Medicare card; Review your Medicare summary notices carefully; only give Medicare information to your doctors and suppliers; beware of offers of free medical equipment, services, or goods. Shred papers with medical information; remove labels on RX bottles before you put them in the trash.
Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams:
You cannot win a sweepstakes or lottery that you did not enter.
Be suspicious of any pressure to send funds via wire transfer or a pre-paid loadable card
If a caller is claiming an emergency, before offering to help a grandchild or another relative or friend, be sure to telephone that person at a number you know to be valid to find out if the request is legitimate.
Consider it a red flag if the caller insists on secrecy.
The epidemic is going to get worse before it gets better. Tell your parents to be alert and to monitor their bank and credit card statements. Shred all personal documents with a crosscut shredder.
Be mindful of those who may be “shoulder surfing” –trying to look over your shoulder- while you use ATM. Don’t carry too much information in your wallet – only what you need. Driver’s License, 1 credit card, 1 check. Do not have personal information printed on your checks.
Protect your incoming and outgoing mail. If your mailbox is not in a secure location, use a post office box or promptly remove your mail. Have new checks delivered to your bank, not your home. Never leave mail in your box with a red flag.
Missing a financial statement one month could be a sign that someone has stolen your mail and account information and may have changed your mailing address.
Door to Door
Utilities always notify you first before sending someone inside your home. Assume that unsolicited offers for a free energy audit will lead to a hard sell for possibly unnecessary but expensive improvements.
When it comes to scams, remember the gazelle. When he senses a lion, he runs. He does not stand around trying to rationalize it otherwise he would be the lion’s lunch!
The Law Office of Debra G. Simms will be glad to assist you with your elder care and estate planning questions. Call us today at (386) 256-4882.