Every day, across the U.S., some individuals are preyed upon by con men and women, be it on the Internet, over the telephone, in-person, or via mail and wire fraud. In one U.S. state alone, the daily elderly victim count of fraud, cons and/or scams is reported to be in the hundreds.
Family caregivers may be the first line of defense in protecting aging relatives from unscrupulous individuals. There is a lot you can do to help buffer your elderly family members from unscrupulous individuals.
In her blog, Isabel Fawcett, SPHR shared some tips to help family caregivers. Whether you are a long-distance caregiver, or local, there are simple things you can do to better protect your aging family member.
- Ensure that your elder’s telephone is registered with the National Do Not Call list.
- After your elder’s number has been in the National Registry for at least 31 days, you may file a complaint if: the incoming call used a recorded message instead of a live caller, and/or if the call was unwanted. If the state where your elder resides has a statewide do not call registry, list the telephone number(s) in the state registry as well as the national database.
- Promptly report potential scams, fraud, and/or suspicious activity to local and/or state authorities. Start with the Consumer Protection Division at the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in the state in which your elder resides. Many states’ OAG accept online consumer complaints.
- Be the initial live or telephone point of contact with home maintenance and repair vendors before the vendor starts any work. Let your elders know that you will gladly assist in reviewing the fine print.
Whatever you do, remain visible to all involved!
Remember that fraud targeting elders (and others) is not limited to one category. FBI.gov cites health insurance scams, counterfeit prescription drugs, funeral and cemetery fraud, false-claim anti-aging products, investment schemes, reverse mortgage cons, and more. It’s enough to make any caregiver’s head spin! Be aware, and, protect your elders in this brave new world of ours.
Aging is hard enough to navigate without adding insult to injury.