Monday, September 22, 2008

Crimes Against Seniors - Part 3

What I'm reading: Contest entries

What I'm writing: More chapter 24 -- found out my foolproof scheme to keep my hero and heroine under the radar was too foolproof. Time to do more research.

More about Crimes Against Seniors:

Why seniors are attractive targets for con artists

Many have a nest egg
Less likely to report a fraud because they don't know where to go, or they're too embarrassed at being conned. They fear they will lose their independence.
Sometimes it's hard to remember precise details
Products and services used in the cons designed to appeal to that age group: health care products, health care services, and retirement investments.

Common scams - and these are not just for seniors. Anyone can be a victim.

Identity theft
Health Insurance fraud
Home repair schemes
Foreign lottery/sweepstakes fraud
Advance fee/credit card frauds
Investment fraud
Charity schemes

Avoid being victimized:

Shred credit card receipts and old bank statements
Close unused credit card or bank accounts
Don't give out personal information via the phone, mail, or Internet unless YOU initiated the contact
Never respond to an offer you don't understand
Talk over investments with a trusted friend, family member or financial advisor
(but lets not forget that 86% of senior abuse comes from family, so 'trusted' is the operative word here)
Require everything in writing
Don't pay in advance for services.

Another trend: Criminals targeting seniors are increasingly located outside the US, making it difficult for American law enforcement to track them down.

More details, with descriptions of how each of the scams work, and specific advice for avoiding being taken are given at the FBI's website I posted last week. I'll repeat the link here.


Katie Reus said...

Another cool post Terry! This makes me so sad though...targeting the elderly is like kicking a puppy! I'm a big believer in karma and people who do that will eventually get theirs ;)

Terry Odell said...

Good for you, Katie. I'm a bit impatient and waiting for karma to kick in makes me antsy. I want those folks kicked really hard NOW!