As estate planning and elder law attorneys, one of our primary goals is to educate our clients and community about how they can protect themselves and their assets. This newsletter will share and expand upon a recent article about con artists who target senior citizens. The Associated Press reports that “elder financial abuse” has become an “industry” that brings in billions of dollars each year. This form of elder abuse includes fraud perpetrated by relatives and acquaintances as well as scams run by complete strangers. The outsider-run cons can be particularly devastating, both financially and emotionally, because they are so effectively targeted at older individuals and very difficult to trace back to their often international origins.
One common scam involves a con artist calling a targeted person and claiming to be his or her grandchild. The impostor then says that (s)he is facing some sort of crisis, often abroad, and needs the potential victim to wire money immediately, and without telling anyone else in the family. Another way that scammers prey on senior citizens is with correspondence claiming that the potential victim has won a lottery, usually in another country, but must send money to cover fees and taxes in order to receive the prize money.
We have met real victims of the two scams described above. One woman actually had a grandchild living outside the United States and so wired a few thousand dollars to a foreign country. Another victim received calls and letters that she had won the lottery in a country she had never visited, as well as correspondence from a psychic stating that she would soon be wealthy, and was conned into sending several thousand dollars to claim the fake prize.
Please be aware that these scams are out there and that con artists are getting better at targeting their victims all the time. If you would like more information on protecting yourself or your loved ones from becoming a victim, we are here to help. For the full Associated Press article, click here: