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Mar 19, 2014 by |

Stay One Step Ahead of Scammers

A recent article from the January edition of the New Yorker has highlighted some of the most prevalent scams to be reported so far this year, all of which target older Americans, over the age of 60. These schemes pinpoint weaknesses and vulnerabilities in older people, and prey on unsuspecting and trusting people who would take these scammers at their word. Financial elder abuse attorneys in California say that these stories should serve as warnings for elderly residents, to avoid being duped by similar methods as these scams gain in popularity.
Last month, an 86-year-old woman reported to local police officers that a well-dressed man and woman in their 50s made off with $10,000, drawn directly from the woman’s bank account. The scam? The older woman withdrew the funds, and gave them to the couple herself. She told police that the younger couple approached her, carrying a large wallet stuffed with cash that they had ‘found’ on the street.                 They proposed a plan to turn in the wallet to the local authorities, under the name of the older woman, and if it was unclaimed in 30 days, they could split the contents three ways. The couple asked the woman for $10,000 as a sort of safety deposit, to prove that she was trustworthy. She immediately withdrew the money from a nearby ATM, and handed it over. When the couple never returned with the receipt from dropping off the wallet, she realized her mistake.
In another case, two men came to the home of an 87-year-old man, claiming to be there to check the roof for damages after a recent heavy snow. The older man let them inside his home, and they burglarized the place. Similar fraud schemes include men wearing orange vests, claiming to be from the water company. Another woman, aged 82, answered a call from the New Jersey State Police, or so the caller claimed.           The caller told the woman that her grandson had been arrested, and needed $3,500 to make bail, and avoid spending the night in a jail cell. She wired money to the account information provided immediately, and later found out that her grandson was safely at home, and had not even been arrested.
The grandparent fraud, or “friend-in-need,” is a popular one, financial elder abuse attorneys in California say, mostly because it preys on a grandparent’s love for their family, and a lack of day-to-day interaction. Most grandparents speak to their grandchildren weekly, or monthly, but rarely every day, and so if the grandchild is allegedly in jail, it is hard for the grandparent to dispute the claim. On several occasions, callers will pose as the grandchild, asking for money to help them out with rent, car trouble, or other pressing financial needs. If the grandparents are not in regular contact with their families, or have trouble distinguishing voices over the phone, this scheme works perfectly—fueled by concern for their grandchild, the older victims will send money to an unknown fraudster.
Older Americans need to use caution and be aware of their surroundings, as well as the validity of any requests for help or money. If you did not call for a roof check, do not let anyone unknown into your home. If your grandson is asking for money, call a number you know belongs to him, or his parents, and confirm the request before sending funds. These tips will help prevent fraud, and protect the elderly from financial abuse.
At the Evans Law Firm, our financial elder abuse attorneys represent anyone who has fallen victim to fraudulent schemes such as these. If you need help protecting yourself and your assets, contact an Evans Law attorney at 415-441-8669 or today.

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