On Saturday, August 21, we celebrate National Senior Citizens Day. On this day, we should all take a moment to let the seniors in our lives know how much we appreciate them. They are our parents, grandparents, and mentors, and they have set the foundation for much of the important work we do each and every day. One way we can honor our seniors is to do our part to protect them from scammers. Unfortunately, scammers target our nation’s seniors at alarming rates. We encourage you to talk to the seniors in your lives about telephone and letter scams. These scams are a form of elder abuse, and are all too common.
To help get these conversations started, we’ve put together this helpful list of reminders and topics:
- Remind them that, if anyone calls asking for money, they should call you or another family member or friend before they do anything. Scammers like to take advantage of kindness and generosity.
- Simply tell the senior in your life that you are there to help.
- If scams sound legitimate at first, this is a sign that there is a sophisticated scammer at work.
- If the “IRS” calls, it is likely a scam. The IRS never calls. They typically send official communication via the US Postal Service. Scammers use tax information to scare people into handing over money.
- Remind your senior that professionals accept cash, checks, credit cards and insurance.
- Hospitals and professionals such as attorneys, accountants, and doctors do not accept store gift cards as a form of payment for their services.
- If a “friend” calls out of the blue and claims to need money right away, offer to help in other ways. This will prompt the scammer to back down since you’re not just paying up.
- Always be skeptical if the person contacting them asks that they keep the payment a secret.
- Scammers target everyone no matter the age. It’s important to always be vigilant.
- Finally, the best defense is always to call a friend or family member to discuss the strange call or request.
We hope this helps get these important conversations started. Even if you’ve already raised these concerns with the seniors closest to you, don’t be afraid to bring it up again. It’s important we all do our part!