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Jan 27, 2014 by |

Scammers Offering Free Initial Services Target Seniors for Financial Elder Abuse

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

In California, and across the nation, senior citizens are often targeted for various types of scams.  Recently there has been a wave of fraud involving a certain type of scam.  This scam can best be described as the “free inspection scam.”  It is prudent to remember that in life, you usually get what you pay for.  Free usually does not mean that there will be no costs involved.  California financial elder abuse attorneys remind senior citizens to be careful when people come to the front door offering “free” services.

Those who commit fraud are generally pretty good at what they do.  They will not show up on your doorstep unkempt and smoking cigarettes.  Usually they look clean cut and are often wearing a polo shirt with a company logo on it, or other professional attire.  The “free inspection scam” typically begins with a knock on the door sometime between 9 and 11 in the morning.  The senior citizen opens the door to find a clean cut man or woman standing there.  The person then tells the senior citizen that they are waiting for parts, or lumber, or some other delay on a job site they are working on.  Then they say that since they are waiting they thought they would go around the neighborhood and offer a free inspection to other neighbors nearby.  California financial elder abuse attorneys warn senior citizens to be cautious when opening the door to strangers.

The person at the door will then say that there is not a charge for the inspection, or if there is that any charges will be applied to any work done.  Typically, there is some urgent reason for the inspection such as a leaking water pipe that could burst or a potentially leaking gas pipe that could kill everybody in the house while they are asleep.  Sometimes there is a free program that is allegedly offered for any repairs that are deemed necessary.  Next, the inspection occurs and they find a minor issue that needs to be addressed.  Sometimes the minor issue is fixed at no cost to the senior citizen, other times a nominal fee is charged.  Then they tell the senior citizen that there are other issues that need to be followed up on in the next few months.  When the company comes back to address the follow up issues, the costs go way up and many times the senior citizen is sold a costly product that they do not actually need such as a new air conditioner.  California financial elder abuse attorneys advise senior citizens to get a second opinion when purchasing products from people who come to the front door.

Scammers usually try to pull this activity in neighborhoods with high concentrations of senior citizens that are likely to be home during the day alone.  Senior mobile home communities are often the neighborhoods chosen by perpetrators of these scams; however they can happen anywhere.  In one recent case, the company came back every month for several months for one urgent repair or another.  The repairs were timed to be completed just as the monthly Social Security payments arrived in the mailbox.  Unfortunately, scammers are plentiful, but there is something that you can do to avoid becoming a victim.  Be wary of free services and get a second opinion if you are told that you need to purchase any expensive repair work.

Evans Law Firm, Inc. handles elder abuse, financial elder abuse, physical elder abuse, annuity fraud, consumer fraud class actions, insurance and banking fraud cases.  If you think that you have witnessed or are the victim of elder abuse, or financial fraud then contact Evans Law Firm, Inc. at 415-441-8669 for a free and confidential consultation, or email us at info@evanslaw.com

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