Avoiding Senior Scams

Author

Golden Lodge Assisted Living and Memory Care

Posted on

Feb 09, 2022

Book/Edition

Colorado - Boulder County

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There comes a point when you realize that you are the voice of reason in your relationship with a loved one. Suddenly, the father who has always been so extremely cautious begins falling for online scams, or the mother who helped you recognize deceptive sales pitches when you were in high school starts sending money to questionable charities. According to the NCOA (National Council on Aging), financial scams targeting seniors are so widespread that they are considered the crime of the 21st century. Read on for advice on how your loved ones can avoid being targeted.
Recognize and discuss some of the most common scams
People prey on seniors because they are likely to have savings or pensions and also because they may be unsophisticated in their use of technology. They may be lonely, trusting, or simply used to a culture of helping people in need a kindness that is often exploited. Read on for six of the most common scams and how to avoid them:

PHONE SCAMS
These are the most common scams used against the elderly, mainly because seniors are comfortable using the phone. In fact, seniors also make twice as many purchases on the phone as the general population. Solicitors may claim to be collecting money after a natural disaster or may claim to be a grandchild in jail or in hospital and in need of money.
What to do: Remind your loved one never to give credit card numbers or information over the phone. If they want to make a donation, help them seek out a legitimate charity and contact it themselves. Practice having them say, That sounds interesting, but I will look into it myself. Goodbye. Enroll your relatives number on the Do Not Call Registry. Make sure that your relative has caller ID and voicemail. This way, they can screen their calls, weed out unfamiliar numbers, but not miss any legitimate messages.

INTERNET SCAMS
These are easy to fall for, no matter what your age. Scammers may send threatening emails saying that your relatives computer has been hacked or making frightening demands from the IRS. They may offer counterfeit prescription drugs or send begging letters designed to tug at generous older adults heartstrings. They may phish, spoof, or try to extort money, clicks, and information a thousand different ways.
What to do:Obviously, you dont want to create a crippling distrust in your loved ones that makes them avoid the computer completely, but you can try to create enough suspicion in their online behavior that they doubt and verify everything. The magic adage here isif in doubt, dont click! Explain that the IRS never sends emails asking for information, that individuals desperate for money wouldnt logically choose them to specifically send a begging email to, that nobody legitimate is going to ask to take over their computer to fix a nonexistent virus, and that misspelled words, grammatical errors, and close-but-not-quite URLs are all warning signs.

FUNERAL/CEMETERY SCAMS
One scam is for a stranger to approach a grieving widow or widower and claim that the recently departed owed money. Another way seniors can lose money is to be upsold expensive and unnecessary caskets or burial plots just as they are reeling from a tragedy and not thinking clearly.
What to do: Insist on proof of any claims made. Creditors do NOT attend funerals to demand money. Although planning of this nature can be difficult, it is necessary: plan ahead. With a firm plan in place, logic is more likely to win out over raw emotion.

INVESTMENT SCHEMES
Seniors often have retirement accounts or savings, which makes them a prime target for disreputable financial advisors, get-rich-quick schemes, or Ponzi schemes. Take the time to explain this to your loved one.
What to do:Make sure that your loved one does not respond to unsolicited offers. Help them find a reputable financial advisor; this involves research, checking credentials, and making sure that the advisor is a fiduciary. As far as get-rich-quick schemes go, remind your relatives what they told you all those years ago: if it seems too good to be true, it most definitely is!

MEDICARE SCAMS
Scam artists often pose as Medicare representatives and ask for information that they will then use to file fraudulent claims on behalf of your relative.
What to do:If your loved one has a Medicare question or problem, they should contact them directly. Legitimate Medicare representatives will not ask for the information they already have.

REAL ESTATE SCAMS
It may be tempting for your loved ones to believe the claims of an entity touting the advantages of a reverse mortgage or the superiority of quickly selling their house for cash. This is especially true of those who are planning to go into senior care housing and are looking for financial solutions.
What to do: This comes down to research again, not to mention the old If it sounds too good to be true warning. Golden Lodge is experienced with unsavory scams targeting seniors and has researched funding sources for senior care and housing. You and your loved ones are not alone as you navigate your way through the sea of scams.

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Identifying Medicare Scams

Research shows that seniors are common targets of scammers. One of the most common ways that criminals try to get information is through Medicare scam calls. In fact, your Medicare number is often more valuable for criminals than your social security number or credit card numbers/banking information.The caregivers at Gentle Shepherd Home Care in Colorado Springs can help you identify these scams. We offer a variety of in-home senior care services from companionship to medical care.In this article, well explain what you need to know about common Medicare scams.Does Medicare Ever Call Recipients?There are only two reasons that Medicare will ever call you, according to the Medicare website:Health/drug plan provider may call if you are already a member or the agent who helped you join may contact youCustomer service representative may contact you if youve left a message or received a letter stating that you will receive a phone callTop 7 Medicare ScamsFraudsters are getting smart with their scams. However, if someone calls you claiming to be from Medicare with the following pitches, its a scam.Your old Medicare card is invalid- you will be getting a new cardThis is one of the most common Medicare scams. The fraudster will inform you that in order to issue a new card, they will need your social security number and/or your Medicare card number.Truth: Medicare will not call you if there is an issue with your card. They will send a letter to arrange a phone interview.Your Medicare plan is about to be canceledThe caller will claim that in order to prevent your Medicare from being canceled, you will need to verify your current Medicare number, full name, address, banking information, birthdate, and social security number. This is also a common Social Security scam.Truth: Medicare representatives have your Medicare number on file- they will never ask for it. Additionally, Medicare representatives never ask for details such as your social security number to verity your identity.You are eligible for early access to vaccinationsThe COVID-19 pandemic spawned many pandemic-related scams such as being sent at-home testing kits or special access to vaccinations. These offers require that you provide information such as your Medicare number, social security number, and other personal details. Most of these start out as text messages or robocalls. The caller will offer you special access if you pay out of pocket.Truth: Medicare will never ask for you to pay out of pocket to get special treatment.You must confirm your appointment for genetic testingIn some cases, scammers will call offering free genetic testing to screen for a variety of health conditions. When you agree, they will steal your information and will bill Medicare for the test. In some cases, you may be sent an at-home test to complete along with a request for your information.Truth: Medicare will not call or send an at-home kit to offer you testing that you have not requested.You are eligible for free medical suppliesIf a scammer is aware of a specific health condition, such as diabetes, they may offer you free medical supplies or medications. 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Golden Lodge Assisted Living and Memory Care

Assisted Living 1111 Newstar Way, Golden, Colorado, 80403

Nestled at the base of the foothills Golden Lodge is a new senior living community committed to providing a comfortable and secure lifestyle. Programs and services are matched to the needs of individuals requiring assisted living and those who need extra support due to memory loss. We support each residents' individuality and preferences by creating a warm, inviting atmosphere where residents choose how to spend their days, all while getting the assistance and care when and if they need it. We welcome you to call the Lodge your home and enjoy all we have to offer, including peace of mind.

Golden Lodge Assisted Living and Memory Care

Memory Care 1111 Newstar Way, Golden, Colorado, 80403

We offer a whole-person approach to memory care focuses on meeting Residents needs while creating an inviting family atmosphere. We offer three secured neighborhoods with a total of 36 studio apartments and a secured courtyard to enjoy the outdoors. The community is overseen by our experienced Director of Care Staff and is staffed 24/7 with team members who are trained in Dementia Care.