Outsmarting Elder Scam Artists, Pt. 2

The first segment of outsmarting scam artists focused on how to spot common schemes as well as advice for avoiding falling prey to their scams. That segment looked at what to do when you are already faced with potential scam scenarios; however, there are other steps that you can take to help avoid scams before they can occur.

The FBI cites senior citizens as particular targets and victims of scam artists. They stated that the most common types of schemes that focus on the elderly include healthcare fraud, counterfeit prescription drugs, funeral and cemetery fraud, fraudulent anti-aging products, telemarketing fraud, internet fraud, investment schemes, and reverse mortgage scams. However, you can stop the majority of these scam attempts on your loved ones by taking the following steps.

Cutting Down on Scams and Solicitations

In order to cut down on the number of phone, email, and paper letter solicitations for scams that are geared towards the elderly, you should try the following:

· Adding phone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry
You can add the number of your loved one to the registry by going on donotcall.gov or by calling the hotline number. The phone number remains on the registry until you remove it or it is disconnected.

· Get Caller ID
The Do Not Call registry eliminates most telemarketers from making calls to the home, but politicians, charities, and companies that you already have an existing relationship are allowed to still call the home. Caller ID can help identify who is calling and you can explain to your older loved ones that they should not answer unless they recognize the caller.

· Visit the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) website
Visiting the DMA website can help you cut down on the number of direct mailings and commercial mail received to the home. You can specify what you do and do want mailed to the house, and these preferences are saved for three years. However, you need to remember that organizations not affiliated with the DMA as well as any company that you have an existing relationship with can still send you mailings.

· Opt out of unsolicited pre-approved credit offers
By visiting optoutprescreen.com you can request that major credit bureaus do not share your credit information or the information of your elder with creditors and insurance companies for promotional purposes. You can get your loved ones opted out for five years or taken off of the list permanently.

· Protect information online
Check out a website’s privacy policy before giving out any information online. Consider creating a secondary email address expressly reserved for website registrations and their promotional emails. Also, many reputable websites allow you to opt out of promotional offers or other emails, and you can teach your loved one how to do the same.

Additionally, in order to cut down on in person scams share a calendar with your elderly loved one. That way you can see where they are going every day and who they are in contact with. Also, tell your loved one not to answer the door if it is someone that they do not know. Hopefully, by abiding by these and the other tips provided in these segments you can cut down or eliminate scam artists targeting you and your elderly loved ones for scams.

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