As the only CPA in the Inland Empire with decades of experience in caring for the financial and personal needs of elderly seniors, I have seen and heard of many types of scams. Unfortunately, these scams continue to victimize the elderly who do not have proper financial management, such as a skilled trustee or fiduciary to monitor their accounts. Whether you are an elderly senior yourself or have loved ones who are, it is important to be aware of the threats that are out there. The team at Marcia L. Campbell CPA wants you to know about the five scams that steal from seniors so you can spot them when you see them.
Scammers will often call elderly seniors and claim to represent either a healthcare provider or even Medicare. They will claim that they are calling to inform the elderly senior that to continue coverage they need to confirm some personal information.
Of course, this information is usually their home address, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, and other information needed to steal their identity. Once their identity is stolen, lines of credit can be opened and used in their name. Unfortunately, elderly seniors need health coverage for prescription medication and medical care. As a result, they are often quick to provide the scammer with any and all information they can over the phone under the false assumption that it will protect their health coverage.
Fake Lottery Winnings
In this scam, criminals will call an elderly senior or contact them via mail. They’ll claim the recipient has just won a large prize in a lottery, sweepstakes, or other contest. The scammer will then require that the elderly senior send a small payment in order to unlock the winnings. Criminals will then send a check to the victim and have them deposit that in their bank account. The check will be rejected, but by then the victim will have paid requested fees and taxes on the false prize winnings. Many scammers will prey on victims in this way multiple times by claiming that the prize is en route or that the check bouncing was some clerical error. As a result, victims can have large amounts of money stolen over a prolonged period of time while awaiting the imminent arrival of their grand prize.
For this cruel scam, criminals attend the funeral service of the deceased and approach the widow, widower, or grieving family, and claim that the deceased owed them money which must be repaid.
Any legitimate parties who have a claim to parts of the deceased’s estate will most certainly not attend a funeral or be inconsiderate enough to approach family on such a mournful day. These scammers may embarrass the grieving family to such a degree that they will agree to payment during a time where their mind is focused on mourning rather than questioning the scammer.
This scam is particularly heinous since it can directly result in the death of the victim. As elderly seniors are often on fixed incomes if not smaller amounts of income than prior to retirement, they often try to save as much money as possible.
Further complicating this is the fact that many elderly seniors are often on multiple prescription medications. In order to save money, many elderly seniors look to purchase their medications online. Unfortunately, many websites offering prescription medications for purchase actually sell counterfeit products. As a result, the victims are not only out of money, but they have purchased medication that may not even work or can possibly harm them.
These schemes can rob elderly seniors of their entire life savings. While these schemes come in many forms, they all share the same trait of having the victim “invest” their money into some new kind of investment that promises to safeguard their money or even make it grow at an attractive rate. Perhaps the most well known of these schemes in recent years was a Ponzi scheme run by Bernie Madoff who stole large amounts of money from his so-called “investors,” some of which were elderly seniors. The victims often agree to these schemes simply out of the desire to safeguard or grow their savings now that they are retired and no longer working. As a result, elderly seniors and their families should be watchful for anyone claiming to be offering an investment opportunity that looks too good to be true.
Sadly, many of these scams could have been avoided with the elderly financial services available from Marcia L. Campbell, CPA. We can take away the stress that comes with handling financial matters. Marcia L. Campbell, CPA is also able to safeguard the finances of seniors to protect them from fraudulent investment schemes and scams by providing proper financial planning for seniors. Additionally, we organize and review the finances of our older clients to monitor for any irregularities or signs that a scam is happening.
Even though experienced trustees and private fiduciaries can help manage and protect finances, criminals will always be on the lookout to target elderly victims. Our team at Marcia L. Campbell, CPA helps seniors to make the best choices for their future and can help in the aftermath of a scam. We diligently work to safeguard the financial and physical wellbeing of our elderly senior clients. If you feel you need help managing your finances, please contact us at Marcia L. Campbell, CPA, so we can assist you.