If you have a senior citizen in the family, there really is nothing more heartbreaking than to discover than to find out that your loved one has been the victim of a senior citizen scam which robbed them out of their precious retirement savings and puts their retirement at risk. When you come to the realization that this wholesale robbery has occurred, you don’t know who to be angry at. It’s easy to want to be angry at your parent or grandparent but its they who are the victim here. They need your love and help more than ever now, not guilt and anger.
But its you who feels victimized as much as your loved one. By robbing your parent or grandparent of their savings, they could become a liability to the family which will be costly to you and your siblings. You are not going to let your own flesh and blood go hungry or go with out medical care or a good place to live.
These are good motivations to know what can be done about senior citizen scams so you can have a plan of attack. Now, once the scam has been executed, there may be some resources to track down the crooks and recover the lost funds. Scams come in all shapes and sizes. They may come in the form of an internet scam that steals thousands from your parent or grandparents credit cards. They may come from home repair scams that cost them big bucks and deliver nothing. They may be “get rich quick” schemes that targeted your loved ones because they were concerned about retirement savings.
If you can locate who scammed your loved one, be relentless in pursuit of them. Don’t be afraid to enlist the aid of local media. Local television news teams often have groups trained to go out and target these scam artists and expose them to public scrutiny and distain. Scam artists are like cockroaches. They don’t like attention and they don’t want to be noticed. If you can get your scam artist under that kind of microscope, they will often crack and return the stolen funds rather than face further attention.
But there is a limit to what you can do legally and it’s not a good idea to go after them personally. Not only do you not need to commit a crime yourself but these people are criminals so they may not be the kind of people you want to tangle with. So be smart but if the funds cannot be recovered, just get control over the situation, stop payment on any checks and cut off the funds quickly to stem the hemorrhaging of funds from your senior citizen loved one’s accounts.
The real defense against senior citizen scams is prevention. Even if it is just this article that raised the red flag for you, start now finding out how your retired parents or grandparents are using their funds. One way to do this is to offer taking over the management of their money. They may love to see you handle paying their bills and worrying about their taxes so they can relax and enjoy their retirement. Then you can be sure that any money that goes out through those accounts goes to proper and worthwhile uses.
But talk to your senior citizen to inform them of the dangers of scams. Many times people of the previous generation are too trusting and easily convinced of the validity of a scam. They need to have that high level of distrust so they become virtually scam proof. One rule you may put in place might be that they have to review any investment or new expenditure with you so by talking about it, proper questions can be asked. Convince your senior citizen that anything that cannot stand up under scrutiny is probably a scam. Make sure you emphasize to them that any offer that must be done now or could be lost if you require documentation is not a worthwhile business no matter how enticing their offer is.
By instilling a measure of caution and skepticism in your senior citizen and by becoming a watchdog of their resources yourself, perhaps you can spare your senior parent or grandparent from the heart ache of a senior citizen scam and deny access of crooks to the ones you love.