When I talk to people about advocacy and geriatric care management, they get that part of what we do in our professional role is look out for older adults and guard against abuse of a variety of sorts. One of those kinds of abuse is financial abuse in the form of scams that target older adults. Scammers target older adults in part because, as a group, older adults can be more vulnerable, but older adults also are the ones who will have accumulated some amount of money over their lives – their nest eggs. But did you know that more than 90% of reported financial scams targeting seniors are perpetrated by their own family members? If you are a caregiver to an older adult or just a concerned person in the orbit of a senior, here are some of the common scams going around.
- Meet you at the Funeral – Believe it or not, some scammers will go to a complete stranger’s funeral claiming to the family or widow that money is owed for some prior contract or other obligation. But that is not all. Beware of the “add-ons” that some funeral homes may try to railroad at this vulnerable time in a family’s loss. It is a really good reason that we all should make our own funeral arrangements before the time comes.
- Boomers don’t Age – With the boomers starting to fill the ranks of the over 65 cohort, there is a host of anti-aging products to assist those who feel 70 is the new 50. Help your senior to see through the false claims as well as the fake products posing as the brand names like Botox. And remember that if it is not fake in the case of Botox, that it Botox made from a deadly toxin; be certain of the recipe.
- Fake Drugs – With pharmaceutical prices still a large part of any senior’s budget, the lure of non-U.S. pharmacies is still there. Be sure that the distributors actually offer the real deal. FDA has been reporting an average of 20 major investigations of fake manufacturers every year.
- Just Bill Medicare – Anyone over age 65 will qualify for Medicare to pay part of their medical costs. Some providers working the system, however, can purport to offer services and then bill Medicare. Since they can use your elder’s personal information for a direct billing, the older patient will never be the wiser.
The list, of course, goes on. The reason why some of these frauds may happen is that they take advantage of a senior who is not as tech savvy on the web as younger web surfers may be. And at any age, we all can be victims of the deal that sounds too good to pass up. So, if you are a caregiver, lend an eye and an ear to that older adult in your orbit. Your vigilance will benefit them, and it also will give you the benefit of advance learning for when you are there one day.
Charlotte Bishop is a Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago. Please email your questions to info@cr eativecaremanagement.com.