It is not uncommon for the elderly to be targets of fraud or scams. Sometimes, the person behind the scam is a person that the victim knows. It is easier to take advantage of an elderly person with dementia because they are more likely to not fully understand the situation, therefore making it easy for someone else to manipulate them. Telephone, e-mail, or in-person scams can look different and come in many ways.
Types of Scams
Below are some of the most common types of scams on the elderly.
- Identity theft
- Get-rich-quick offers
- Phony offers of prizes or home or auto repairs
- Insurance scams
- Health scams such as ads for unproven memory aids
Common Signs of Financial Fraud
Look for signs that the person with dementia may be a victim of financial abuse or fraud:
- Fake signatures
- A change to a person’s will.
- Possessions or properties are being sold
- The person has signed legal papers (such as a will, power of attorney, or joint deed to a house) without knowing what the papers mean.
- Things that belong to you or the person with Alzheimer’s, such as clothes or jewelry, are missing from the home.
Common Signs of Scamming
While there is no sure way to determine if someone is being scammed without proper investigation, there are a few signs that you can be aware of that would serve as red flags.
- Someone is requesting that you wire them money.
- Emails promising money to someone
- Offers to buy with payment methods other than secured online or cash.
- Handling payments for someone else
- Exaggerated threats i.e “If you don’t do this, you’ll go to jail”
- Unsecured websites
- Emails that look off
If you encounter any of these signals, do not entertain the scammer at all. If you are unsure of being scammed, it’s best to investigate the situation more. You can look for information on the person or company that is contacting you. If you think you have already been scammed, you should contact the police department for help.
All in all, financial scams and fraud can easily happen to anyone. It’s important to know the signs to look out for. You can be vigilant with a loved one to help ensure that they are being taken care of in every way.