Fraud, Investments, and Our Elder Parents

Check out “Why Older People are Vulnerable to Fraud & How to Protect Them, a February 2017 New York Times article that describes the ways older adults are susceptible to fraudulent phone calls and offers, especially when it concerns investments. It also  makes suggestions about what people who get entangled in these offers can do. The report shares a study conducted by AARP.

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.

Most Interesting Findings   Continue reading

A New Twist With Personal Safety Device Scams and Seniors

Adult children should be sure that their parents understand the clever strategies that telephone scammers use as they encourage elders to part with credit card information. Over the past several days I’ve received two phone calls on my home landline, aiming to convince me that I ordered a personal safety device and that it was ready for delivery. The caller laughed when I said I did not make the order, pointing out that I probably forgot.

Review these scam prevention tips with your parents.

Review these scam prevention tips with your parents.

The best line in the conversation — “Oh, from time-to-time we all forget that we ordered something.”

Taking advantage of memory issues is a new twist, for me anyway. The scammer tries to convince people — in this case me — that they purchased a device for safety reasons, but … somehow I must have forgotten about it. I assume a fair number of people do not want to admit that they forget things and thereby make themselves easy marks for a caller who takes advantage of the anxiety about memory lapses.

I wrote a post about a similar phone scam, Call About Personal Safety Devices, in January 2013.

What is significant about my most recent calls was how refined the pitch has become. The caller, a real person, asked me when I wanted my personal safety device delivered. I played along, acting like I did not remember making the order, and worked hard to sound doubtful. The scammer zeroed in, friendly but with laser-like precision, pointing out that I must have forgotten and that the personal safety device was ready to deliver AS SOON AS I PAID WITH MY CREDIT CARD.

Every time I expressed doubt, he had another warm and friendly explanation. When we finally parted ways, I thought I was finished with him but he called back today, reminding me of our conversation and asking me if I remembered the order that I had made.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Aging Parents and Telephone Fraud – Five Rules that Protect

I have just hung up the phone on yet another call asking me just to “update” some sort of personal information. Still another caller, a day or two ago, was trying to convince me that I have a problem at my bank (one which I do not use, by the way). A few weeks ago a neighbor heard, via phone, that her credit card was stolen and all she had to do to confirm that the card the number was hers. No, no, and no!

Older parents, especially those living alone, need something posted by the phone to remind them about what to do when they answer the phone and discover it is one of these unpleasant and fraudulent phone calls.

Five Telephone Rules for Older Parents and Everyone Else to Keep by the Telephone

(Click here for a PDF of these rules.) Continue reading