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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Elder Financial Abuse Epidemic

Elder financial abuse has been prevalent for a many years and it unfortunately continues to grow as time passes. Seniors have been experiencing more fraud due to their increased use of the Internet and technology. Individuals target older people because elders tend to have money sitting in the bank, they tend to be more gullible and they tend to be more kind and friendly individuals. Recent research reports that seniors lost around $36 billion dollars each year due to financial abuse and up to 44 million Americans were victims of these scams. Common fraud types include telemarketing fraud, identity theft, health care/health insurance fraud, and Internet scams.

 Although elders are main targets for fraud, there are many ways that they can prevent it from happening, which include:

  • Never disclose your Social Security number, especially over the telephone.
  • Never give any credit card or bank account information over the telephone.
  • Never purchase a product or service from an unfamiliar business.   
  • Never pay for a service before you receive it.
  • Never sign up for an investment if you do not understand what it entails.
  • Read your medical insurance benefits carefully.
  • Do not always trust a product promotion or cost reduction.
  • If an anti-aging product contains a “secret formula,” it’s most likely not true.
  • Any free gift, vacation or prize is most likely false.
  • Be aware of what prescriptions or medical equipment has been ordered for you at all times.
  • Check your caller ID when someone is calling. If you do not recognize the number or if it is a toll free number, do not answer the call.
  • Be ok with saying no thank you or hanging up on a marketer.
  • If you believe that you are a victim to financial fraud, report it.

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