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The three most common frauds targeting elders

Seniors who have a pension or retirement savings have sacrificed and worked hard their entire life to earn this money.

Unfortunately, there are many scams that target senior citizens and try to steal this hard-earned income.

Fraud has claimed millions of dollars from senior victims and these three scams garnered the most complaints in 2017, according to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging:

Internal Revenue Service scams

Calls claiming to be from the IRS led the nation in fraud complaints, according to the report.

At the height of this scam, there were an estimated 150-200 victims a week

The fraud used the reputation of the IRS and the vulnerability of some elders. Someone would call claiming to be from the IRS. They would tell the victim that he or she owed thousands of dollars in back taxes.

The individual would tell the senior that if they did not pay they would lose their car, house or savings.

They then would accept a small “down payment” on the supposed debt. An estimated $64.9 million has been lost to this scam.

Unsolicited phone calls

Unsolicited phone calls were the number one cause of fraud complaints in New Hampshire.

Scammers use automated dialing services to separate a victim from their private information. These dialing services are called "robocalls."

Robocall software is used alongside internet phone calls, which are cheap and can be done anywhere.

There has been an increase in telemarketing calls despite the national Do-Not-Call registry

In the first eight months of 2017, the Federal Trade Commission received three and a half million complaints about robocalls.

Sweepstakes scams

If something seems too good to be true, it usually is and sweepstakes scams are no different.

These involve someone telling a victim that they have won the lottery. To collect their prize, he or she must simply pay a small transaction fee.

The caller instructs victims to send money via prepaid debit cards, wire transfers or cash.

To make matters worse, scammers will often tell victims not to share the good news with family or friends. This way they can surprise loved ones when the money arrives.

It never arrives.

Because of this, these scams usually go longer without being reported.

Protecting our elders from scammers is an increasingly difficult task.

Ensuring that our senior citizens have someone they can trust to help keep their finances accounted for can help cut down on the likelihood of falling for a scam.

A long-term care plan can provide guidance for a loved ones’ finances, and help you account for expenses so that unusual spending on things like scams can be noticed and addressed.

If you have any questions about long-term care planning, a skilled elder law attorney can help.

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