Crimes Against the Elderly
Sadly those of us who are gracefully greying are often the victims of crime. With the proliferation of the internet and social media, there are more and more instances of crimes against the elderly. Examples include identity theft, and theft within our homes. New scams pop up almost daily including insurance scams, fake calls supposedly from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, and numerous other institutions and agencies. A warning - if there is an unknown caller number on your smart phone, don’t answer the call. If it is a legitimate call, most people will leave a message - a scammer will not. People posing as friends, lovers, and even your grandchildren are phone predators trying to take advantage by urging you to mail cash - and in some cases, lots of it. Do NOT do this. If you do answer the call and engage in a conversation, immediately ask the 'suspect' caller a family question to confirm their identity. If they cannot answer this, the scammer will most likely end the conversation and will move on to another call. Check out this article published by the NCOA, National Council on Aging - 'Top 10 Financial Scams Targeting Seniors.'
When using your credit card to make a donation or a purchase online, you should immediately receive a notification email confirmation with the amount that you have charged. If you do not see this reply email within a few seconds or minutes, contact your credit card company to put a hold on the transaction. It is most likely a scam. Kiplinger's article written my Miriam Cross, '6 Scams that Prey on the Elderly' is a must read.
Not all scams are over the phone. Instances of fake repairmen and utility workers taking advantage of the vulnerable and elderly showing up on doorsteps claiming to be valid are obvious scams. Ask to see proper identification and most importantly, do not open the door.
Sadly, criminal issues also involve assault and neglect by family members and friends, as they have been known to take advantage of an aging parent or sibling in times of vulnerability, loneliness, or physical restrictions. When in doubt, call your local police and report any issues that may arise. Remember that many police departments and prosecutors have elder abuse units aimed at protecting the elderly from crimes.