Critter Corner: How Can Caregivers Help Protect Loved Ones Against Scams?

Dear Angel,

I am a caregiver for my father, but not always around. I have a feeling he is being targeted by scammers. How can I know for sure? Also, do you have any tips for me on how I can help protect him against fraud and scams?

Perry Tectingham

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Dear Perry,

The growing incidence of senior scams is putting many older adults in harm’s way. As a caregiver, it’s important to protect yourself and your loved one. The following are signs of things to watch out for:

● The person has a lot of inexpensive cheap items that he or she either purchased in order to “win” something or received as a so-called “valuable prize”;

● The person has written checks or made withdrawals for escalating amounts of money to unfamiliar, out-of-state companies;

● The person begins to act very secretively about phone calls;

● The person is having payments picked up by private courier services or is wiring money to companies or individuals;

● The person is having sudden problems paying bills, or buying food or other necessities.

If you see any of these warning signs, remember the following tips:

Do:

● Help the person report the suspected fraud to the state or local consumer protection agency or appropriate office (Fairfax, Montgomery, All of Virginia).

● Emphasize the criminal nature of scams and help the person learn how to identify them.

● Encourage the person to ignore solicitations that seem suspicious.

● Have a calm family discussion about the best way to handle the person’s finances in the future. Be sure to make an appointment with Mr. Farr to plan for yourself and your loved ones.

● If the person is getting lots of phone calls soliciting money, help the person change his or her phone number, if necessary, and get on the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry.

Don’t:

● Blame the person.

● Threaten to take away the person’s financial or physical independence. This may only make the person secretive and resentful.

● Ignore a problem! We are all at risk and at times, need advice and assistance.

Hope this is helpful!

Angel

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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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