Senior scam safety is an important topic today. Seniors are a vulnerable group in our society and, unfortunately, scammers prey on that fact. That’s why educating seniors and society at large is vital to senior scam safety. While we often think of scams as occurring online, many scammers still approach seniors the old-fashioned way-either door to door or with a letter or phone call. Here are some tips to help the seniors in your life avoid becoming a victim of a scam.
Check on Your Loved Ones Regularly
The best way to help your loved ones is to make sure you check in on them regularly. Maintain a good relationship with the older adults in your life. Make sure they feel comfortable talking to you, especially about things that might be concerning them. Ask them if they have gotten any recent phone calls or visits from anyone. Check if they have gotten any suspicious mail. When you keep the lines of communication open, you will be more likely to intercept a problem. If you can’t visit in person frequently, aim to call every other day or so.
Educate Your Loved Ones About Scams
One of the main reasons seniors fall victim to scams is that they aren’t aware the scam is going around. They also come from a more trusting generation. Think how businesses have changed through the years. Years ago, many maintenance and handymen used to go door to door looking for work. This mentality leaves older adults open to attacks from scammers. Talk to the older people in your family about scams. Explain the importance of withholding your personal information from anyone but their close relatives. If they feel uncomfortable with a call, encourage them to take the callers information and pass it along to you so you can check its validity.
Explain the Importance of Proof
Seniors often feel like they will offend someone if they ask for proof. But, it should be expressed that it’s normal to ask for proof. And, if a caller or visitor has nothing to hide, they will be more than happy to provide it. They should also know that asking for proof will likely scare off scammers. Stress to your loved ones that they should not do business with anyone who cannot verify their business name, address, and telephone number. IRS scams are very popular right now. Tell your loved ones that if they get a call from a government agency, they should ask for an official letter. Also, any correspondence from a bank can be done directly in the branch.
Don’t Respond Right Away
When you are in doubt, there is absolutely no rush to provide those calling, writing, or visiting with an answer. Express to your loved ones that if they are unsure, they should wait to respond. They can get the person’s information and talk to yourself or another caregiver before responding. Explain that if they are pressured to act, it may be a scam.
Install a Peep Hole
A peep hole is a great way to help with senior scam safety. You can also add a doorbell with an intercom system, or one of the new video doorbells. This way seniors can check who is calling without even answering the door.
Utilize the Do Not Call Registry
Adding your senior loved one to the do not call registry can help reduce the amount of telemarketing calls they receive. While it may not eliminate them all together, it can help reduce confusion. Register their phone number at donotcall.gov
or by calling (888) 382-1222.
Sign Up Your Loved Ones for Senior Scam Safety Classes
Many libraries and community centers hold internet and computer classes for seniors. Check to see if there are any local classes in your area. Go with your loved ones to make sure they have the confidence they need to get the most out of the class.Senior scams are a real threat in today’s society. Promote senior scam safety
to ensure you keep your loved ones out of the hands of scammers.