Unfortunately, there are far too many opportunists in the world, and the one thing they all share in common is that they are looking for the simplest way to get what they want. As a result, many con-artists specifically target the elderly, knowing that they are often some of the most vulnerable members of society. One way that elders are subjected to financial abuse is through fraudulent phone sales.
It has been estimated that Americans are bilked out of tens of billions of dollars each year via phony phone scams. Of those who lose money due to fake sales over the phone, more than half are over the age of 50, according to AARP. In order to ensure that you, or a loved elder does not fall prey to phone scams, keep the following in mind:
*Do NOT give anyone your credit card information or other sensitive information (social security number, date of birth, or bank account numbers) over the phone.
*Do NOT agree to pay to claim any type of prize you may be told you won.
*Do NOT send any money as a wire transfer even if you are told that you will be paid back immediately.
*Do NOT agree to pay “taxes” on any money you’ve supposedly won.
*Be wary of anyone who says they can give you a loan, or sell you something at a great price, but only if you act immediately.
*Make sure you do ask for the caller’s company, name, and website.
*Always request any offer in writing before agreeing to buy anything.
*Get a second opinion on something that seems too good to be true. (Run the offer by a friend, family member, or even an attorney, before agreeing to buy anything).
*Do NOT be afraid to ask to be removed from their calling list.
There are plenty of people who make a living at the expense of others, and you definitely don’t want to become a victim. If you would prefer to be removed from all phone sales lists, you can request to be put on the “Do Not Call” list, by registering at www.donotcall.gov.
Financial abuse of elders occurs in many forms. It is a civil and often a criminal offense. Christopher C. Walton is a San Diego based elder abuse attorney whose practice is dedicated to issues involving elder abuse & neglect. If you believe you or somebody you know has been a victim of elder abuse, please call (866) 338-7079 for a free and confidential consultation.