As the top-rated estate planning lawyer in Montgomery County, PA, I hear scenarios of seniors becoming victims of fraudulent scams and financial abuse all too often. Researchers have found that seniors are inherently more vulnerable because of the physical changes to their brain as they age. Researchers are studying the progression of hearing loss and declining vision. Seniors often live alone and have a small network of people overseeing what they are doing daily, which makes them vulnerable. How do these factors affect a senior’s ability to make decisions and respond in various situations?
Researchers have discovered that one’s ability to notice sketchy circumstances may decline as they age. In fact, seniors are much more susceptible to fall prey to an aggressive person. They are also more likely to place confidence in the last person that talked to them. Additionally, seniors are more apt to focus on the positive side of a risky scenario than to consider what is at risk. Sometimes perpetrators are even relatives of the senior, which can be challenging for them to both recognize and seek help.
An Unsettling Trend
Jamaican-based telephone scams have skyrocketed in recent years. In 2017, a scammer from Jamaica was sentenced to nearly seven years in the US for attempting to scam 90-year-old William Webster. It began with promises of bogus sweepstakes winnings, which later evolved into violent threats. Unbeknownst to the perpetrator, William Webster was the former head of the FBI and the CIA. William quickly put a plan into action soliciting his connections in the FBI to assist. Consider being added to the National Do Not Call Registry, which is detailed below, to best avoid situations like this from occurring.
Sadly, prosecutors report that once someone has been scammed, they are more likely to be scammed again. The swindlers often share their contact information on a list with other scammers. Protect yourself and your loved one from becoming prey to a scammer by being vigilant and asking questions. If a particular situation makes you uncomfortable, then you do your best to remove yourself from it, if possible. Talk to someone else if you are unsure about an email or a phone call that you received. Seek help from someone you trust.
What Can You and Your Loved One Do If You Are a Victim of a Scam and Consumer Fraud?
Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) immediately to report information to the
Consumer Sentinel. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool utilized by civil and criminal law enforcement. For example, you may request to be on the National Do Not Call Registry, which allows you to decide whether or not you’d like to receive telemarketing calls at home. Most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. Click here to file a complaint, or call 1-888-382-1222 with the FTC.
Consumer Sentinel Network Includes Complaints Regarding the Following:
- Identity Theft
- Do-Not-Call Registry violations
- Computers, the Internet, and Online Auctions
- Telemarketing Scams
- Advance-fee Loans and Credit Scams
- Immigration Services
- Sweepstakes, Lotteries, and Prizes
- Business Opportunities and Work-at-Home Schemes
- Health and Weight Loss Products
- Debt Collection, Credit Reports, and Financial Matters
Let us put our experience, technical knowledge, and expertise to work for you and your loved one by helping you preserve your financial resources and plan for your future. Contact Slutsky Elder Law, Named 2019 Top Lawyer by Main Line Today. For more information on fraudulent scams, or for a trusted elder law attorney serving Chester County, PA, call (610) 940-0650 today.