Every year, telemarketing and mail scams cost the American public billions of dollars. Often, older individuals fall victim to these cons as they are generally less informed and often have accumulated some wealth. Scammers know that elders often have a generous disposition and a lack of knowledge or understanding of the internet, which makes them susceptible to common scam methods.
It is important to always check with a supposed company and to never send personal or financial information over the internet. If you or a loved one is a victim of financial theft, speak with an elder abuse attorney in Sacramento.
There are various ways in which an individual may be approached with a scam, often by a stranger on the phone pretending to act in your best interest. Scammers may also pretend to be familiar to you or to be acting on behalf of someone else you know. Sometimes people fall victim to scams by people they actually do know.
The level of trust is higher with someone you’re familiar with and they may take advantage of that. Elders in assisted care may come into contact with staff with bad intentions and it’s important to stay vigilant when considering sharing finances. Seeking outside advice from an elder abuse attorney in Sacramento is always a good idea.
HERE ARE SOME FREQUENT MANIFESTATIONS SCAMS MAY TAKE:
- Charitable Donations – anyone soliciting for charitable donations must be registered with the state Attorney General’s Office. Any individual may call (916) 445-2021 or visit ag.ca.gov/charities or bbb.org to determine if a charity is registered.
- Credit Card or Repair – some cons involve selling unnecessary insurance for unauthorized charges made to a credit card – this can usually be resolved with a banking institution. If not, no other individual has the authority to “repair” bad credit/
- In-person – most cities require door-to-door salespeople to hold a business permit. If a contract was made at your place of residence or temporary place of business (hotel or convention center) you can usually cancel within three business days. If you doubt whether a business is legitimate, contact the Better Business Bureau for verification.
- Financial Advisors and Investments – most quick money-earning schemes are scams. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is! Always remember to ask the salesperson for credentials and call 1-866-ASK-CORP (888-275-2677), the state Department of Corporations, to find out about the company and salesperson
- Funeral and Cemetery Fraud – call the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau at 916-574-7870 to verify a funeral establishment’s license or file a complaint.
- Home Repair – be wary of paying cash! Also make sure to get more than one estimate, check references, and get everything in writing! A home may not be used as collateral in any home improvement contract for individuals 65 and older. The maximum to pay before work is completed is 10% or $1,000, whichever is less. A contractor’s license may be reviewed at www.cslb.ca.gov or by calling call 800-321-2752.
- Medicare Fraud – Remember that Medicare/Medi-Cal numbers should never be given to a stranger and Medicare statements should only include services or equipment actually received. Medicare can be reached at 800-633-4227. To report suspected Medicare prescription drug fraud, call 877-772-3379. To report suspected Medi-Cal provider fraud, call the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse in the state Attorney General’s Office at 800-722-0432.
- Living Trust – salespeople may pose as experts in estate planning to gain your trust and confidence. It is now illegal for insurance brokers and agents to claim any senior-related certification that does not meet certain criteria and have the California Insurance Commissioner’s approval.
- Telemarketer/Mail/Internet – there are many ways in which a con may be perpetrated by mail or internet so always make sure to never send personal identifying information through mail including social security number, bank routing or account numbers, credit card information. Always investigate a supposed company before engaging in a business deal. Keep in mind that many scams pretend an individual won a prize or trip and asks for payment information to pay a tax or absurdly low price but charging in advance before an individual collects a prize is illegal. For more information or to file a complaint, call the state Attorney General’s Office at 800-952-5225.
- Real Estate – older individuals who own homes are often targeted for scams centering around home equity loans with unsound and possibly illegal rates and fees. Be sure to investigate the supposed lender and make sure you fully understand the loan’s terms. It can be helpful to have someone outside of the company look at the proposal. In the case of late mortgage payments, it is important to take action immediately. Be wary of solicitors who seek you out and offer to renegotiate your loan for you. Call HUD at 800-569-4287 for a referral to a free counselor, or call the Homeowner’s Hope Hotline at 1-888-995-HOPE.
Do You Believe You or a Loved One Have Become a Victim of Financial Theft?
It’s important to contact a knowledgeable and motivated elder abuse attorney in Sacramento to work on your behalf to get you the help you need.
Speak with Our Elder Abuse Attorney in Sacramento to Fight Against Financial Theft!
The elderly are common targets for financial theft for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it comes from strangers but other times, it comes from trusted caregivers. If you suspect you or a loved one has been abused financially, consult with our elder abuse attorney in Sacramento. The Weinberger Law Firm is here to help!