Sadly, many people believe that seniors are easy targets for financial exploitation. In a survey taken by Allianz Life Insurance Co. of 2,000 adults, the senior participants reported losing an average of $30,000, while some reported losing more than $100,000. The most common financial scam against seniors is something called “grandparent scams.”
In a grandparent scam, a senior’s desire to help their family is exploited by a scammer impersonating the senior’s grandchild, telling them they need money for an emergency. These “emergencies” can range from needing help after a car accident or getting mugged to the more extreme stories of being incarcerated in another country. The impersonator pleads with their grandparent not to call their parents so they won’t get into more trouble. The senior wants to help their grandchild and transfers money, not learning until after the money is gone that the person who contacted them was not who they thought Here are some tips to share with your elderly loved ones to protect them from falling victim to a grandparent scam:
- If you get a phone call unexpectedly from someone asking for cash, double check their identity before sending it.
- Don’t disclose too much information about travel plans on social media.
- Verify the caller’s identity by asking a personal question that only your grandchild would know the answer.
- Call other family members or friends to verify if your grandchild is out of the country or if there has really been an emergency.
- Create a secret code with your loved ones to be used in actual emergencies
Being the victim of a financial scam is terrible for anyone, but it can be particularly detrimental to seniors. They have worked all of their life to save money and rely on their savings for their personal security. Even losing a small amount can be devastating. If you or your elderly loved one has been the victim of financial abuse in Florida, you need the help of an experienced elder abuse attorney serving Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice and Lakewood Ranch. Please also review our article published in The Florida Bar Journal titled, Protecting the Elderly from Financial Exploitation: The Dilemma and Solution.