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If you are supporting elder parents or expect to be involved with their assistance in the future, take some time to read the New Yorker article, How the Elderly Lose Their Rights. The long story, by Rachel Aviv, describes the abuses that can occur when unscrupulous people seek the guardianship of elders. It focuses on one family in Nevada — and yes, it is horrifying to read — as a corrupt guardian gets the right to take over an elderly couple’s life, causing extraordinary financial and psychological damage.
This New Yorker piece is a must read for any adult child who is trying to ensure that elder parents live a full and robust life for as long as they are able. It illustrates why families need to meet with an attorney experienced in elder law who will help to create protective documents for family members to sign. These documents that can create a barrier for unscrupulous and corrupt individuals seeking guardianship.
I’ve read several blog posts that respond to Aviv’s article. The post at ElderLawAnswers.com which offers a detailed information to the New Yorker piece and also describes some of the legislative changes — state and national — that aim to prevent such elder abuse.
Just about everyone receives telephone calls asking them to use their money to do something. The trick as one ages, I believe, is to avoid making any initial decision over the telephone and to be fairly abrupt or rude — or just hang up — when answering the phone and discovering that a caller is attempting to sell something. The problem is, most of the elders in my life would never think of being rude — it is not a part of their personal DNA.
As if there are not enough scams, here’s another one — a college loan scam. I haven’t had college loans for years and years, but I am wondering if there will soon be a parent or grandparent component to the scam. Anyway, one more caller with malicious intent to be aware of when you answer the phone.
But it’s also the time of year for tax scammers. Make sure your parents know that if they get a phone call about IRS, they should NOT believe the caller. You can watch this video, posted at the IRS website, with them.
Recently a friend of mine told me about the grandparent scam. She described receiving a call at her home from a person who claimed to have a message from their granddaughter. The caller told my friend was that her granddaughter was stranded in a foreign country and desperately needed financial help. Another friend of mine, a granddad, received a call from a hysterical female claiming to actually be his granddaughter.
Now I have received a lot of scam calls, and I’ve shared the information with my parents and with lots of other people on this blog. I am, however, stunned that I’ve missed this one. Continue reading →
Lisa Weintraub Schifferle, an attorney at the FCC, shares her experience with an IRS scam call that she got at home.
The woman on the phone recording was serious and calm, but she said that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was calling me with my last warning. I was told to press a number to speak with a live person and there might be a penalty if I did not answer. And yes, this woman sounded like she knew what she was talking about
Sigh! Here we go again. I am so tired of phone scams. In this particular case I just slammed down the phone, but it was easy to imaging a worried elder following up the call by pressing the number to get a “real IRS person.” Sometimes the scammer leaves a message asking a person to call back. If you Google IRS phone scams there are some pretty funny recordings of people talking to these scammers.
Note: The IRS will never call you with a “last warning.” In fact, IRS probably won’t ever call you at all because the agency uses the U.S. postal service to communicate.
My piece shared a recent experience with a telephone caller who tried to get me to share personal information because of problems (fraudulent) on my computer. Singletary also shared information about a phone call that she received, and she also quoted many people who also experienced fraudulent scams or even fell for them.
Whether you are an aging parent or an adult child, this is an important column, because in addition to sharing her experience with a similar scammer’s phone call, Singletary also provides information about the AARP’s Fraud Watch Network, a developing site at the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), that enables people to check out and ask questions about potential scams.