It seems that the creativity of scam artists knows no bounds. They are criminal chameleons who can change their ability to con good people faster than online protections and written warnings can be posted. Scammers use phone, mail, email, links, websites, and door to door solicitors to prey on people.
They know that seniors are more trusting. Older seniors may be “in awe” of technology because they are unfamiliar with it or suffer from dementia, making them vulnerable to those promising protection. Even though violent crimes against seniors are decreasing, property crimes against people over the age of 65 still take place at an alarming rate. Older adults are often the targets of scams that end up costing them thousands of dollars.
These five steps can drastically reduce a senior’s risk of being targeted by criminals:
1. Invest in a Paper Shredder
It can be easy for a criminal to steal an individual’s identity by sifting through his or her trash. By stealing a few bills, the criminal can apply for new loans and credit cards in a senior’s name. Paper shredders aren’t completely foolproof, but they deter most criminal activities. Anything that has a senior’s name, address, phone number, social security number, or banking information should be shredded before it is thrown away.
2. Take a Look at New Scams Once or Twice a Year
New scams make headlines almost every month. The vast majority of scams may not affect every senior, but it is a good idea to keep an eye out for potential risks. Whether the scam involves fraudulent IRS bills or fake companies asking for donations, seniors need to be aware of the most common crimes targeting seniors.
3. Avoid Unusual Files and Downloads
Even if seniors don’t use their computers or smartphones often, they might have some personal data stored on these devices. The easiest way for criminals to steal digital information is to trick seniors into downloading unusual files or documents.
As a general rule, seniors should never download anything unless they know the source of the file. They also need to update their computers and software as often as possible to keep the system secure. As a caregiver, educate your loved one about the dangers of downloading suspicious files and keep a watchful eye on the files he or she downloads.
4. Always Research Companies
With access to the internet, seniors can easily carry out research on companies. In addition to skimming over the past work and the history of a company, seniors should look at reviews as well. Fake reviews do exist, but seniors can typically get a pretty good sense of a company by skimming through recent reviews. Companies that don’t have reviews or references should be avoided.
5. Turn Away Solicitors
The two most common types of solicitors are those who repeatedly call landlines and door-to-door salespeople. While the occasional salesperson may be from a legitimate company, it is a good idea to avoid anyone who is trying to aggressively sell a product or service. Signing up for the Do Not Call registry is one of the best ways to avoid unpleasant phone calls, and putting up a “No Soliciting” sign in the front yard is one of the most effective ways to legally keep solicitors away.
Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Prescott, Arizona, Family caregivers sometimes need a break from their caregiving responsibilities. When they need respite care, Prescott families can rely on professional caregivers to help their senior loved ones remain safe at home.
Home Care Assistance of Prescott are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. To learn about our high-quality elderly care plans, give us a call at 928-771-0105 today.