The fact that we specialize in senior services at My Divine Concierge affords us the opportunity to hear a lot of stories about potential scams. Scammers are out there in every town and city across the country. They tend to target the most vulnerable members of society – especially seniors. Whenever we hear a story, we try to remind our clients to be careful.
- For the record, the FBI suggests scammers target the elderly for the following reasons:
- Scammers find the good credit and nest egg income of seniors attractive
- Crooks know they can exploit the polite and trusting nature of older Americans
- Seniors are less likely to report being a victim because of embarrassment
- When seniors do report being scammed, they often find it difficult to provide details
- Seniors are more likely to be interested in ‘miracle’ products that supposedly do amazing things
- Seniors are more likely to trust that they need work done on their houses.
We can testify firsthand how important it is for our clients to know and be able to trust whoever comes into their homes. My Divine Concierge has worked hard to build up a trustworthy reputation with each of our clients, putting them at ease whenever we are there to help.
Before you allow anyone into your home other than family members and friends, make sure you properly identify them and their purpose for being there. Never trust unsolicited service providers or contractors who show up at your door offering free estimates or other similar services. If you do think you have a problem with your property requiring outside help to rectify, call a reputable service provider to set up an appointment.
Most Common Scams Targeting the Elderly
Just as scammers target the elderly because of certain characteristics and traits they possess, they also tend to use particular kinds of scams that play into those characteristics and traits. The previously mentioned idea of offering to do work on the victim’s house is just one example. There are others to be careful of.
Some of the more common scams identified by the FBI as targeting seniors include:
Healthcare Fraud – Healthcare fraud can involve everything from supposedly ‘free’ equipment to the scammer posing as an insurance company representative asking for personal information in order to update a health insurance policy.
Medicare Fraud – Along those same lines is Medicare fraud. Scammers offer all sorts of enticements to try to convince Medicare participants to provide personal information – including their Medicare numbers that can be then used to bill government illegally.
Funeral and Cemetery Scams – Seniors are targeted for funeral and cemetery scams for obvious reasons. Scammers may try to sell nonexistent cemetery plots or encourage victims to prepay their funeral expenses through a funeral home or cremation service that does not exist.
Telemarketing Scams – The telemarketing scams targeting seniors are too numerous to list, but they always have one thing in common: a scammer attempting to manipulate the victim into providing personal information including bank account, Social Security, and credit card numbers.
Investment Scams – Seniors are also frequently targeted for investment and reverse mortgage scams. Once again, fraudsters attempt to get their victims to sign papers and provide personal information that will allow the criminals to rob them blind.
At My Divine Concierge, the number one rule of thumb we urge all of our clients to abide by is to simply be careful. Never believe anything you are told by a stranger, no matter how positive it might sound. Check out every offer you receive for every service, product, account upgrade, etc., before you sign. And never, ever provide personal information over the phone or to a stranger standing at your door.