Scammers are all around. Every day seems to bring a new scam alert. Scams are now part of everyday life, whether it’s credit card frauds, phone scams or email scams.
Scams are so common and reach so many people that it is vital to protect yourself as well as your elderly loved ones.
Scammers can target seniors in particular. A recent Columbus Dispatch article estimates that seniors are at risk of fraud costing $2.9 billion each year.
Recently a leading website published a story on a “Grandparent Scam.” Where Scammers call an elderly person to claim they are their grandchild. They panicked and overwhelmed, the grandparents want to help their grandchildren. The call is not suspicious, but the grandparent is still on guard.
The Police warned of a “phone scam” that involves making fake calls, which appear to be coming from the Department of Health. The caller asks for personal information, which can lead to identity theft and other problems. This scam is very common because traditionalists and baby boomers are more likely to need medication and health care as they age.
It is possible that statistics on senior fraud and exploitation are not being reported. People are often embarrassed when they discover that they were taken advantage of or their guards fell. Senior citizens may not be able to admit to their spouses or children that they have been a victim of a fraud. Others might not be aware that they were victims.
It is a good idea to keep an eye on any withdrawals or transfers from an elderly person’s accounts if you have the ability or supervision of their finances. If they are contacted by a wrongdoer, it is important to educate them and warn them.
What Government is doing?
Ohio Senate Bill 158 was presented in May 2017. This bill would increase elderly protection and fine fraudsters. The bill would require certain professionals such as CPAs and financial planners to report any suspected abuse or exploitation to the department for job and family services. The current Ohio law requires that individuals working in long-term care have to report, but the bill extends this reporting requirement to other professionals. You can find a summary of Bill published by the Legislative Service Commission.
The Ohio Attorney General provides information about “common scams that affect the elderly” as well as the characteristics of each. There are several publications on the site that can help seniors identify fraud and protect them.
The Ohio Attorney General has also created a separate website named as Ohioprotects.org, specifically designed to report fraud. You can report any suspicions that you have been the victim of a scam through this website.
You may find support and resources at your local Adult Protective Services for elderly victims of fraud and exploitation.
Fear isn’t healthy, especially for seniors with forgetfulness or confusion. Being aware of the facts and preparing yourself with the right information and resources can save your family a lot.