The National Association of Triads, a partnership of law enforcement, older adults and community that promotes senior safety, describes these common characteristics that make seniors vulnerable:
- Availability: Seniors are seen as a target because they are retired and less mobile, and at home for the calls. Scam artists can troll for victims because they can call or drop by.
- Isolation: Seniors are often alone because families move away and sometimes have little or no interaction with loved ones. Some seniors don't have others to help review large decisions.
- Loneliness: Because of their isolation, seniors' friendships often can be limited, and this can make them vulnerable to that friendly cold caller who drops by the house. Some scams are even perpetrated by seemingly trusted people who work to build new friendships with older adults and then prey on their vulnerabilites.
- Sickness: Chronic health issues mean that many older adults have difficulty maintaining their property. Scam artists know that. A senior may rely on outside sources for help. Unscrupulous workers can bilk seniors out of thousands of dollars for a job that should only cost hundreds of dollars. Dementia can exacerbate the problem.
- Prosperity: Money is one of the most notable reasons for senior vulnerability. Scammers see them as a supply of wealth that includes homes, property, life savings and other assets.
Maybe it's time to sit down with your senior loved one and calmly talk about scammers. If you and your senior live in different cities, it's a good idea to contact other relatives, friends and neighbors who could periodically check on them. Don't delay in contacting local law enforcement if you think someone has defrauded your senior or might be trying to do so.
For more information about protecting your seniors from scammers including a Senior Fraud Protection Kit, contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office, or visit ProtectSeniorsFromFraud.com or NationalTriad.org.