You may already know that many types of scams exist with the goal of separating hard-working people from their money. Some of the worst financial abuse ploys out there are those that target senior citizens and mentally vulnerable people in Florida and elsewhere. You may think that your parents are smart enough not to fall prey to one of these scams, but unfortunately, financial abuse tactics are getting more sophisticated and difficult to identify. Many senior citizens are also at risk of age-related cognitive disorders that can make them open to the manipulation of a con artist.
The National Adult Protective Services Association warns that about one out of every 20 elderly Americans become the victims of scams and financial abuse. Sadly, it is not just strangers who can target your parents. Caregivers and family members you should be able to trust may also have ill intentions of getting ahold of the nest egg your parents built throughout their lives.
It may help to be aware of the following scams that commonly target the elderly:
- False sweepstakes and lottery mailings informing recipients they won, but must first pay a processing fee before collecting their winnings
- Fraudulent phone calls by those claiming to be utility companies or IRS agents, demanding immediate payment of a false debt
- A family member or caregiver manipulating the elderly person into making him or her the sole beneficiary of the will or signing over control of the finances
- An email or text message by someone claiming to be a loved one who was arrested or stranded out of the country and needs money
There are ways you might protect your elderly parents from financial abuse, including getting a power of attorney, which is the right to make financial decisions for a vulnerable adult.