Senior Consumer Complaints: Fraud Against the Elderly

Each year, thousands and even millions of senior citizens find that they have become victims of various types of fraud. In the best scenarios, they report it and might be recompensed. However, many others may simply feel too humiliated to report the fraud, or they may not know where to turn to for help. Senior consumer fraud is a very serious issue; it creates fear, difficulty and numerous problems for the elderly. Worst of all, it victimizes them. A recent study found that around thirty percent of complaints about consumer fraud come from senior citizens, along with just over a quarter of identity theft complaints. But why do senior citizens seem to be such easy targets? There are actually several factors that help to explain this. Many seniors are on their own, and they may be more trusting or naïve. They hail from a generation where polite manners reigned, which makes it difficult for them to bluntly say no to an offer. Mental or physical conditions and illnesses strike many elders, which makes them vulnerable. Finally, the strongest factor is that scammers know that many seniors have significant savings put away.

Scams that target the elderly come in many different forms. Some of the most common include scams about Medicare, funeral arrangements, and prescription drugs. In these scams, the perpetrator may pretend to be an official medical or government worker and ask for confidential details or payment. Next, telemarketing and Internet schemes can also strike. Many of these schemes prey on seniors’ kindheartedness by asking for money for charity purposes or to help with another person’s medical bills. On the other hand, they might also claim that the victim has won a lottery or become the beneficiary of a large amount of money. They invariably ask for confidential banking details. Other schemes include investment fraud, mortgage scams, and home renovation rackets.

Elderly Fraud Resources

SeniorsMeet.com Complaints
Waltonwood Senior Home Complaints
Assisted Living & Senior Homes Consumer Complaints
Rapid Medical Response
Senior Lifestyle
Senior People Meet

The big question is how to avoid falling for such scams in the first place. Quite simply, be extremely wary of strangers in general. If a telemarketer calls, hang up instead of trying to politely conversing with them. List your number with the national Do Not Call Registry. If someone asks for your personal contact or banking details, find out what company they are calling from and then call the company directly to check whether their request was legitimate. Always research charities in detail before donating to them. It definitely helps to stick with well-known, reliable charity groups. Similarly, in the case of home renovation, hire a reliable company instead of an unknown name. A helpful step is to check whether they are listed with the Better Business Bureau. Be extremely careful about revealing personal details on the Internet or over the phone. Ask someone to help you install a strong spam filter in your email account to weed out fraudulent emails. Don’t exchange communications with strangers online. If they claim to be from a company you know, call that company to confirm that they attempted to contact you. Although your instincts may urge you to be polite and play along, remember that it is always worth it to be safe rather than sorry.

What is Senior Consumer Fraud?

Different Types of Senior Consumer Fraud

Tips on Preventing Senior Fraud

How to Address and Report Instances of Senior Fraud

Senior Fraud Statistics and Facts

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