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Scams have become a serious threat for senior citizens, including in our community. Almost one third of successful scams make senior citizens the victim, even though seniors represent only 12% of the population.

There are several reasons for this: 

  • Seniors are the most likely to have a “nest egg.”
  • Seniors are from the “polite and trusting” generation.
  • Seniors are less likely to report fraud.
  • Seniors may not be strong witnesses. 
  • Seniors are more susceptible to products promising renewed health, etc.

Unfortunately, the bad guys know this as well.

Scams often focus on seniors who are dealing with the loneliness, despondency, failing health or other frailties of age. A scam that may be obvious to you and me, and would have been obvious to your loved one previously, may now be a serious risk.

I recall reading on CNN.com about an elderly man recently diagnosed with early onset dementia. In most aspects of his life, he was still fully functional.

Unfortunately, he gave a few hundred dollars to what turned out to be a scam. This unleashed a torrent of aggressive tactics hounding him for more money. Eventually, this man took his own life to get away from the harassment. He left a note explaining how the money he had been promised was to be distributed.  He was still convinced the money would arrive the next day. Even if the result is not this tragic, too often the stories end with a lifetime of savings that has vanished.

No doubt the best solution is to avoid the scam in the first place. However, it can be difficult for vulnerable individuals to always be diligent in the face of repeated and insidious requests, whether blatantly aggressive or deceptively subtle. There are other steps which can be taken to ensure a weak moment does not turn into a drained bank account. Come to the next presentation to find out how your loved ones can be protected from these predators.