Educate Seniors Before They Lose Their Life Savings

affordable home care assisted home care at home caregivers companion home care for older people elderly home care service help for senior caregiversRick Kupchella’s Bring Me the News recently reported of an 80-year-old Stewartville woman who lost her entire life savings—$162,000—in a common lottery scam.  In the scam, con artists telephone seniors and explain that they have won a large sum of money in a sweepstakes.  The hitch, however, is that the senior needs to send a large sum of money to cover the taxes before receiving the money.  The senior mails or wires the large sum of money to an untraceable address, and the money is gone forever.

The National Council on Aging provides information on the most common scams that target vulnerable seniors, and the sweepstakes scam is Number 9 on their list.

If you are taking care of elderly parents or are involved in the life of a vulnerable adult, it’s important to warn them about the various scams that are commonly used to separate seniors from their life savings.  The world had changed from when many seniors were young, and they are often unprepared to identify modern schemes and are vulnerable to falling for them.  Just as parents discuss with children how to protect themselves—i.e. don’t take candy from strangers, don’t respond to unfamiliar emails—it’s important to educate seniors on ways that they can be scammed and what they should do to protect themselves.

Check out the National Council on Aging’s “Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors.

For information on protecting seniors against Internet-based scams, check out our blog “Strangers with Candy: Senior Edition.”

For information on the grandchild scam, check out our blog “Senior Scams:  Help, Grandma, I Need Money Now!

To learn more about how to prevent exploitation of a senior you know, check out our blog, “He’s 85 and Has a . . . Skateboard?


Carol Hauser, M.A.

July 18, 2013



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