5 Ways to Protect Seniors From Scams

Always Best Care, Plymouth Meeting, PA

There are many wonderful things about getting older and retiring, however there are also obstacles  seniors must learn to navigate. One of the most prominent issues with seniors is being the victim of scams. Seniors are often targeted because they are thought to have a lot of savings for retirement, were raised to be polite and trusting, may not have a strong understanding of technology, or may have memory difficulties.
All of these factors can make them more susceptible.

Common Scams Targeting Seniors

Here are a few scams that seniors and their families should be alert for:

  1. IRS Scams

Scammers may harass seniors claiming to be the IRS and make threatening calls trying to collect on unpaid back taxes. They try to obtain personal information and may threaten arrest, lawsuits, or other consequences. There has been recent crackdowns and arrests on these types of scams.  The Senate Committee on Aging estimates that nearly 1 million people have be targeted and 5,000 people lost $26 million last year.

You should know that when the IRS wants to legitimately contact you, they will first correspond via postal mail and never request payment information over the phone or threaten arrest for non-payment.

  1. Phone Scams

Phone scams in general are common. Callers often request sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, bank account information, credit card numbers, account passwords, and more.

Seniors should be reminded to never share personal or financial information over the phone, even if it seems legitimate. Always double-check sources or ask family members to check legitimacy.

  1. Prescription Drug Scams

It is not uncommon for seniors to take one or more prescription drugs. Depending on their insurance coverage and financial situation, they may go online looking for cheaper options. While some of these sources are legitimate, others are scams offering counterfeit drugs or may take payment without ever delivering the prescription.

You should only take prescriptions obtained through reputable sources.

  1. Technology Scams

Seniors are newer to using technology than younger generations and do not always have a strong grasp on the how-to’s. Scammers may call claiming to help with a non-existent virus on their computer or needing access to an account to make adjustments. They may also require high payments to complete these “fixes” and scam seniors out of a lot of money when nothing is actually wrong.

Additionally, these technology scams may look like pop-up browser windows simulating virus-scanning software. These fool their victims into either downloading a fake anti-virus program (at a substantial cost) or an actual virus that will open up whatever information is on the user’s computer to scammers.

The lesson here is do not click on anything without checking it’s certificate or origin.
Always Best Care Plymouth Meeting PA

  1. Grandparent Scams

Scammers are not above bringing family into the equation either. Seniors may receive calls claiming to be from a grandchild asking for money for rent, bail, tuition, or other needs. They often request that the money is wired. Seniors should check first with other family members to ensure that the request is legitimate before sending any money. Scammers may use personal information they find on social media to make calls sound more genuine.

There are also a variety of other investment, email, charity, and funeral scams that can occur as well. It is important that seniors stay alert and educated about potential risks. For example, friends may recommend a terrific investment advisor, however, they may in fact be part of a pyramid scheme.  You will know this if the return on investment promised is more that what the market is currently doing.

Family members should also check in regularly with older adults to see if they have received suspicious phone calls or emails, and carefully monitor their bank account for suspicious or fraudulent activity.

Always Best Care provides companionship and home helper services that can keep your senior safer. Having someone there to answer the phone or door, or be there with your senior during certain times of the day can help them to make more sound decisions and reduce their risk of being victim to a scam. For more information about Always Best Care and how your senior can benefit from in-home care and senior services, call David Baim (267) 217-7059 Or email dbaim@abc-seniors.com.

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Managing Money as you Age

6355351769_766503f534_bFinances are something we all worry about throughout our lives, but particularly so as we age. Typically, as you get older income decreases but expenses stay constant or sometimes increase. However, with the right strategies and plans in place, you should stretch your budget and still live comfortably in retirement.

Change up your Savings: As you hit your 40s and 50s, start rethinking your savings. How is your retirement savings looking? It can be worthwhile to put more of your income into a savings account or bonds. Don’t forget to take advantage of matching contributions by your employer. Seek out a financial planner so you make informed decisions with your hard-earned money.

Evaluate Monthly Expenses: Track where your money is really going. As much as you want to help others, consider your own needs. Look for unnecessary expenses or areas where to cut back. Can you cut costs by going with another provider, consolidating, or refinancing any loans? Consider downsizing your home if you have unused extra space with high maintenance costs just eating into your budget. You can still live well on less!

What daily or weekly activities are eating away at your savings? You also have to weigh these items with what gives you the most joy in your life.

Look for ways to Save: Take advantage of discount and savings programs on things like prescriptions, travel, and purchases. Look for sales, use coupons, and ask for senior discounts when possible.   Memberships at Costco, AAA and other club-like companies offer many savings incentives.

Hold out on Social Security: If you can wait a few more years to start drawing Social Security, you may receive higher payments. This may help stretch your income as you age and help your savings last a little longer.

Stay Active: Cut back on healthcare expenses by staying active and becoming proactive about your health. Maintain a healthy diet and engage in regular physical activity to stay in shape and ward off illness and injury.  Schedule maintenance visits to the doctor and don’t ignore any warning signs of illness or disease.

Think Ahead: Be realistic about the future. If you know you won’t be working for another 10 years, don’t plan your finances around the idea that you will. Weigh the costs and benefits of aging in place, downsizing, or moving to an assisted living community. Look at all of the associated expenses to decide the optimal time to buy and sell or to make other major transitions. Selling furniture and property you no longer need can also be a way to provide some extra income.

Have an Open Discussion:  Invite your children into your financial world and share your fiscal information.  They are probably going to be helping you down the road so why not give them any monetary surprises.  Make sure they are clear on your plans for your home and any other large assets.

Practicing good financial skills can allow you to maximize your savings and get the most out of your retirement. Just because you are on a fixed income doesn’t mean you can’t live comfortably. The earlier you start planning and managing your money wisely, the better off you will be. Saving a little bit at a time can add up over the years.

If you’re weighing your options and looking toward senior services or assisted living, contact Always Best Care today to schedule a free consultation. We can also assist you with referrals as necessary. It’s not too early to start planning for your future and lining up the supports and services you may need as you age. Call  David Baim at Always Best Care (267) 217-7059 Or email dbaim@abc-seniors.com to get started.
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