Westchester County, NY and Fairfield County, CT seniors are considered high risk for being taken advantage of by increasingly sophisticated criminals. In this post, we will outline the Top 10 scams for which to watch out. Before we get to that, here is info regarding local resources available to seniors to help if such a situation arises.
Southwestern Connecticut Agency on Aging and Independent Living
Website : http://www.swcaa.org
Office Phone : (203) 333-9288
The Southwestern Connecticut Agency on Aging (SWCAA) supports services such as nutrition, in-home, legal, health, adult day care/respite, transportation, senior centers and outreach/social support. It is a resource for information and referral to services for older adults, such as health insurance, housing, and in-home care. This agency does not directly provide any service with the exception of case management and I&R.
Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services
Website : http://www.westchestergov.com/seniors
The Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services maintains a complete inventory of services available to older persons and serves as an information and referral point for all local services. The department also conducts activities and develops programs and services to meet the intent of the federal Older Americans act and the New York State Community Services for the Elderly Act.
Top 10 Financial Scams
The phone scam only took 15 minutes. My dad, who is 86, was fast asleep when he received a call at 2am from a lawyer who reported that I was in jail as I had been arrested for drunk driving and found with open alcohol in my car. The lawyer needed $5,000 to post my bail and my dad, in a sleepy and alarmed stupor, mentioned my first name and asked if I was OK. The scam artist now had my name and continued to personalize the ruse to convince my dad to wire the $5,000 immediately to assist me with my case. In the morning when we spoke, my dad was kindly more concerned about my mental health after the “incident” rather than posting the $5,000 bail. Fortunately, we sprang to action to report the scam and trace the telephone numbers - from Toronto to Chicago to the Dominican Republic. We were luckier than most victims as we were able to access the money from Western Union only because the fraudsters had not picked up the money yet.
According to the National Coalition of Aging (NCOA) financial scams targeting seniors are so common that they are now considered “the crime of the 21st century.” They are difficult to prosecute and most likely will not be reported. The scams target seniors in all socio-economic groups and sadly some are carried out by known relatives.
Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that in addition to asking for wire transfers or gift cards, an increasing number scammers are requesting seniors to mail cash, with a median individual loss of $9,000. “The Grandparent Scam” my dad fell for, like many senior scams, starts with a phone call using a common scenario. In about half of the reports of cash payments, people said the caller claimed to be in jail or other legal trouble. About a third of these reports mentioned a so-called car accident (some mentioning texting or drinking while driving). In both cases, the callers play on people’s emotions and sense of loyalty.
According to the NCOA, below are the top 10 financial scams for which to watch out. Link below to the NCOA article for a brief description of each and how to protect you or a loved one from succumbing to it. Click on each scam to be linked to more info on how to avoid them.
- Medicare/Health Insurance Scams
- Counterfeit prescription drugs
- Funeral and cemetery scams
- Fradulent anti-aging products
- Telemarketing/phone scams
- Internet fraud
- Investment schemes
- Homeowner/reverse mortgage scams
- Sweepstakes and lottery scams
- The grandparent scam
If you suspect you or a loved one has been a scam victim, don’t be embarrassed and report the incident immediately. Best to keep phone numbers on hand for quick action such as the Westchester County or Fairfield County police, bank account information and Westchester County and Fairfield County Adult Protective Services (see below). Be sure to also file a complaint to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint.
STEPS Home Care
Feel free to reach out to our STEPS Home Care Director of Patient Care, Barbara Moran, RN, at 914-618-4200 if you have any questions regarding how our Caregivers help clients be on alert for financial scams.