If there’s one thing in life that never seems to change, it’s the prevalence of scammers out to trick us out of money. While it’s true that anyone can become the victim of fraud, summer scam season is often aimed directly at seniors.
For caregivers, a little knowledge can go a long way toward protecting senior loved ones from criminals.
Now is a good time to brief yourself on scams that heat up with the weather. And then share what you find with your loved one.
Summer Scam Season Revolves around Senior Homeowners
Scammers seem to come out of the woodwork when the weather gets warmer. One reason is because that’s when homeowners typically need services. Whether it’s fixing a leak in the attic, trimming trees and shrubs, or mowing the lawn, seniors often need help around the yard and house in the summer and early fall.
Although many seniors continue maintaining their yards well into their 70s and 80s, there does come a time when certain tasks are too much for them. There may even be safety risks at home.
The Unnecessary Repairs
Scammers prey on the idea that some seniors no longer feel comfortable climbing a ladder. The scam here is that a roofer or ‘fixit’ guy will show up and offer services. He’ll go up on the roof and declare a disaster site that needs to be repaired immediately. That may not be true.
There’s the first level of fraud, but the ‘scam’ doesn’t stop there.
The Magically Increasing Price Quote
Next, he may agree upon a repair price with the senior homeowner. When the job is complete, somehow that price has inflated to much more than the original agreement. Then, he uses intimidation to coerce the senior homeowner into paying the inflated price.
The Retainer Service that Melts Away
Another direction the roofing (or other contractor) scam can take is the retainer fraud. The contractor will show up, offering all kinds of home repair and maintenance services for a very reasonable retainer fee.
The catch is that the retainer fee must be paid up front for the entire length of the contract.
Your senior loved one pays six months’ worth of retainer fees up front and then guess what happens?
They never see the guy again.
The Vacation Rental Deposit Scam
Another favorite technique of scammers is the deposit scam. This type of fraud is aimed at vacation rental property owners of any age, but seniors who rent out properties are often more vulnerable. This is often because they are more likely to be trusting of people in general.
Here’s how it works: someone answers your senior loved one’s ad for a vacation rental. The scammer mails a check for the deposit and it’s cashed. The catch here is that the deposit is $1000 too much (or more).
‘No problem’, says the renter. ‘You can just return the difference to me’.
If your senior loved one complies, he’s just mailed a $1000 check to a complete stranger. The original deposit check, of course, turns out to be a bad check.
Every year, between 18 and 19 million dollars are lost to fake deposit check rental scams.
Always Be On the Lookout for Scams, no Matter What the Season
It’s certainly important to be aware of the tricks used during summer scam season. However, seniors and caregivers should stay on alert for scams and fraud all year long.
At Heritage Senior Living, we’re constantly on the lookout for ways to keep seniors aware and safe. It’s part of our commitment to providing excellent care and services. If you’d like to learn more about a Heritage community near you, call us! We’ll be happy to show you around.