On May 7, 2019, the Attorney General and U.S. Attorney announced the largest coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases in history. The cases brought during this sweep of elder fraud involved more than 260 defendants from around the globe who victimized more than two million Americans, most of them elderly. The offenders allegedly engaged in financial schemes that targeted or largely affected seniors. Here are some examples of common financial fraud schemes that target seniors:
- Lottery phone scams- callers convince seniors that a large fee or tax must be paid before they receive lottery winnings.
- Grandparent scams- which convince seniors that their grandchildren are in trouble and need money urgently.
- Romance scams- these scams lull victims to believe that their online paramour needs funds for a visit to the U.S. or for some other purpose.
- IRS imposter scams- these defraud victims by posing as IRS agents and claiming that victims owe back taxes.
- Sham business opportunities- these scams convince victims to invest in lucrative business opportunities or investments.
Millions of Americans are managing money or property for a loved one who is unable to pay bills or make financial decisions. But what if your elderly loved one is still able to manage their own assets but you’re concerned about them being taken advantage of? Here are some tips to share with elderly loved ones to avoid falling victim to a financial scam:
- Don’t share personal information with anyone you don’t know.
- Don’t pay a fee for a prize or lottery winning.
- Don’t click on pop up ads or messages
- Delete phishing emails and ignore harassing phone calls.
- Don’t send gift cards, checks, money orders or give your bank account information to a stranger.
- Talk to a friend or family member if you’re approached and take the time to evaluate before sending any money.
- Remember if it’s too good to be true, it likely is.
If you’re concerned about a loved one’s ability to manage their own finances or you want to learn more about ways to prevent elder law fraud and abuse, contact the elder law attorneys at Sinclair Prosser Gasior.