Avoiding Fraud Schemes: A Look at How Consumer Fraud Affects Seniors
Consumer fraud is a major problem in the United States and anyone can be impacted by fraud crimes. Seniors, unfortunately, are often prime targets of fraud because scammers believe they can trick seniors into parting with their money and other assets. When a senior is victimized by financial fraud, this can be devastating — especially as most seniors have fixed incomes and are dependent upon their savings and investments to cover their costs of living.
A San Mateo County financial elder abuse attorney can provide help to seniors who are victimized by consumer fraud. There may be legal options available to try to recover some of the lost funds and to hold fraudsters accountable. However, your ability to pursue legal remedies will vary depending upon the situation. Working with experienced financial elder abuse attorneys like those at Evans Law Firm, Inc. who have focused their careers on defending the rights of vulnerable seniors can allow you to maximize your chances of recovering lost funds – but this is easier with certain types of fraud than others.
Because recovery of lost money is not always guaranteed, it’s important for seniors to be aware of common consumer fraud scenarios so they can try to protect their money and property.
Common Consumer Fraud Schemes to Avoid
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency explains some of the common consumer fraud scams that seniors – and people of all ages – need to be wary of. Some common examples of consumer fraud include:
- Cashier’s check fraud: This type of fraud occurs when you are given a fraudulent check that you deposit into your account. The bank may pay out the funds from the check and when the check is returned unpaid, the bank can reverse the deposit and take the money from your account.
- Unauthorized banking: This can occur when a financial institutional purports to operate as a bank despite not having the proper charter or the proper license.
- Prime bank fraud: This involves trading in fictitious financial instruments that don’t exist. You may be sold fake documents that appear to be legitimate prime bank financial instruments. The financial instruments are marketed as part of special investment programs available only to sophisticated investors. In reality, the investment is fraudulent and you will have no valid financial instrument to show for your money.
- Identity theft: Identify theft occurs when your personal information is misused without your authorization. A thief could open credit accounts in your name or even obtain medical services using your Medicare or insurance information.
- Phishing: This occurs when a scammer tries to obtain your personal or financial information by sending you fake messages to convince you to give up these details.
Seniors can also be victimized in a number of other ways, including by financial institutions and insurance agents that aggressively sell them inappropriate investments such as annuities, or by financial institutions that sell investments without fully disclosing the terms and fees.
If you are victimized by any type of consumer fraud, you should contact a San Mateo County financial elder abuse attorney at Evans Law Firm as soon as possible to protect your interests. Call 415-441-8669 today to schedule a free initial consultation.