Summer typically means taking time to enjoy a vacation. One group of people you can be sure isn’t taking a vacation is the scam artists who prey on Michigan’s seniors. In fact, scams against older adults increase right along with the temperature.
Older Adults are Targets for Scams
Criminals believe seniors are an easy source of cash. They think older adults are more likely to be financially stable and less likely to report it if they fall victim to a scam because of embarrassment.
Older adults who have physical or mental impairments that affect their judgment or their ability to manage finances are especially vulnerable. Even those who are capable are often too trusting and polite to hang up the phone on a scammer or close the door on an in-person solicitation.
Michigan caregivers can help protect a senior loved one by knowing what scams they are most likely to fall victim to this summer.
Most Common Types of Summer Scams that Target Seniors
Here are a few of the most common summer scams:
- Home Maintenance: A frequent summer scam occurs when someone comes to the door offering their services for home repairs in exchange for cash. They often claim to be offering special pricing because they are already in the area working on a neighbor’s home. Among the most common types of services they promote are paving and roofing. They often use high pressure tactics to intimidate seniors in to making a fast decision and turning over cash.
- Fake Magazine Sales: A door-to-door salesperson —sometimes even children— knocks on the door offering low prices on magazine subscriptions. Some claim to be working to earn money for school tuition. The senior is required to pay up front but the magazine never arrives.
- Door-to-Door Teams of Thieves: Working in teams of two, these summer scammers can rob a senior blind. While one person distracts the unsuspecting older adult with a sales pitch of some kind or even a religious offering, their partner sneaks into the home and cleans out a wallet, purse, jewelry box or other valuables.
Protecting Michigan Seniors from Crime
Here are a few steps Michigan caregivers can take to protect a family member:
- Educate your Senior Loved One: Keep an eye on the local news and follow your community’s law enforcement agency on Facebook to stay up-to-date on scams targeting seniors. Then make time to share this information with your senior loved one. Knowledge is power when it comes to keeping our elders safe.
- Reminder Notes: Post notes near your senior loved one’s telephone and front door reminding them never to give out sensitive information or make purchases without talking with you first. This may help keep them from falling victim to a crime.
- Lock Up Valuables: Purchase a safe that your senor loved one can keep hidden in the home. This safety measure can help if a thief manages to talk their way in to a senior loved one’s home.
A final tip is to remember to take steps all year around to protect your loved one from falling victim to identify theft. The Michigan Attorney General’s office has a variety of resources to help make that easier.
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