Every year, the elderly lose billions of hard-earned dollars to scammers. Older age groups are targeted more often and fall for the scams more often, so younger relatives often find themselves at a loss when it comes to protecting them.
Long-distance caregivers have more trouble than most determining when their parents have been victimized. The fact that they can’t monitor every email, phone call, and letter for signs of scams doesn’t mean there’s nothing concerned children can do, even from afar. Read on to find some tips that could help.
Offer Advice and Insight
New scams are popping up all the time, and a concerning number of them target the elderly. Staying on top of changes in this distressing landscape and alerting aging parents to new threats is a good way to stop scammers. Try using resources like AARP Fraud Watch Network to track current developments, and be sure to educate loved ones about common scams such as:
- Requests for money wires related to work opportunities or claiming prizes.
- Calls from government agencies soliciting money or identity information.
- Unsolicited calls from groups they have never been contacted asking for personal information.
- Emergency calls from people claiming to be grandchildren and asking for money to be wired.
- Limited-time offers for making money by spending money.
- Pitches for high-return investments with no risks.
- Invitations to free lunch or dinner seminars where people pitch high-fee, unsuitable, or fraudulent investments.
However, education will only get people so far. Elderly parents who have a hard time remembering the information they’ve received will only gain so much, and some older relatives are never going to take advice from people who are younger than they are. Instead of getting frustrated, try implementing some additional safeguards.
Stopping Spam Calls
Phone calls are a common way for scammers to reach older adults. The best way to reduce an elderly parent’s risk of receiving these spam calls is to use a three-pronged approach.
- Opt-Out of Unwanted Sales Calls
The Federal Trade Commission allows people to put their numbers on a National Do Not Call Registry. Adding a parent’s number to this registry will prevent legitimate telemarketing calls, which means that any continued sales calls that occur after opting out are, by default, coming from scammers.
- Block Spam Calls
For people who still use landlines, blocking anonymous calls is as simple as dialing *77. It’s also possible to remove the block by dialing *87. Wireless carriers sometimes offer similar blocking services, though some charge a fee for it, and there are mobile apps that protect against spam calls.
- Create a Refusal Script
Younger people usually recognize spam calls as soon as they pick up, then hang up the phone. Unfortunately, older adults are sometimes stuck in their ways and don’t want to take this approach because they have been taught that it’s rude. Creating a refusal script for ending questionable calls can help elderly adults feel better about ending potentially dangerous phone calls without seeming impolite.
Enlist Some Local Help
Seniors living alone are more likely to become victims of fraud, not just because there’s no one else there to warn them when things don’t seem on the level, but also because they tend to be lonely. Lonely people are more likely to talk to telemarketers or respond to social engineering attacks. Moving to a senior living community could help by giving older loved ones a place to socialize with peers and feel less alone, which can also improve their cognitive function and emotional wellbeing.
Know When to Have Hard Conversations
If elderly parents are repeatedly falling prey to scammers, and it’s occurring in conjunction with other worrisome changes, it’s time to have a difficult conversation. The person might be developing dementia, a degenerative condition that impacts executive function, memory, and the ability to perform basic tasks of living.
If the person is willing to have a conversation about moving to a safer environment, look into memory care communities. Memory care communities are designed with the needs of aging seniors in mind, offering all the help required to keep loved ones safe and help them maintain an independent, meaningful life for as long as possible.
Ready to Make the Move?
Want to learn more about memory care in Roseville, CA? Summerfield of Roseville offers a full range of living arrangements, including 56 elegantly furnished memory care living suites. We offer more than just a safe place for elderly loved ones to live. Every day, our residents also enjoy restaurant-style meals, social and educational activities, and more. Call (916) 772-6500 to schedule a tour today.