Elderly Scam #3 – A Child’s Promise to Share an Inheritance

Scamming the elderly out of their money is becoming more and more prevalent in our society. In an effort to make people – parents, children, grandchildren, siblings – more aware of the devious attempts by strangers, friends and relatives to prey on the elderly, I plan to post all of the scams I become aware of.

An elderly widow is trying to plan what to do with her money and her property after she dies. She wants to split everything equally among her children. One of her sons, who lives close by and takes care of all her needs, endears himself to his mom and tells her to put everything in his name and he promises to split everything equally with his siblings when something happens. After some convincing, the mother adds the son to her bank accounts, investments and the title to her home. The mother dies. The son owns everything and will not give his siblings anything, declaring that “Mom wanted me to have it because I took care of her. If she didn’t want me to have everything, she would have split it up before she died.” The siblings are left with nothing for an inheritance, not even mom’s jewelry.

Be careful of allowing the elderly to be the subject of undue influence by a stranger, friend or relative. Once the undue influence begins, it is hard to convince an elderly person that they are being used by someone with ulterior motives.

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Elderly Scam #2 – Pay the IRS with Gift Cards

Scamming the elderly out of their money is becoming more and more prevalent in our society. In an effort to make people – parents, children, grandchildren, siblings – more aware of the devious attempts by strangers, friends and relatives to prey on the elderly, I plan to post all of the scams I become aware of.

An elderly person received a voice mail message from the “IRS.” When she called the telephone number back, the “IRS Agent” gave his name and badge number. He told the elderly person that she owed $8,000 in tax money for the prior two years and if she didn’t pay immediately, then the “IRS Agent” would send the local police to her house to arrest her and to seize her property. She was instructed to go to the bank and withdraw $8,000 and then go to a local retail store to buy $8,000 in gift cards. The woman complied. The “IRS Agent” had her read off the gift card numbers and put her on hold while he obtained a confirmation number. After 30 minutes, he came back on the line and said she owed $12,000 more. She went back to the bank, and thank goodness for an astute bank teller, who told her it was a scam and to call the police. Unfortunately, when the police called the gift card company to see if funds remained on the gift cards, there was no money left on the cards.

The suspects used a phone app that made it look like the IRS was calling. Please know that the IRS does not contact you by telephone. The IRS deals with a taxpayer by mail. You can call the IRS, but they do not call you.

Elderly Scam #1 – The Phone Call from the IRS

Scamming the elderly out of their money is becoming more and more prevalent in our society. In an effort to make people – parents, children, grandchildren, siblings – more aware of the devious attempts by strangers, friends and relatives to prey on the elderly, I plan to post all of the scams I become aware of. Here’s one going around about the IRS:

An elderly person receives a phone call from the “Internal Revenue Service” and identifies himself or herself and even gives a badge number. This “IRS Agent” tells the elderly person that they accidently sent out a check and that the person needs to give the money back to the “IRS” right away. Wiring instructions are provided and the person is given a certain amount of time to send the money or else face criminal penalties. The elderly person dutifully wires the “IRS” the money.

Please know that the IRS does not contact you by telephone. The IRS deals with a taxpayer by mail. You can call the IRS, but they do not call you.

2 Main Reasons to Keep the Land Line Telephone

Americans are ditching their landlines in favor of cable phone service (voice over internet protocol) or cell phones. But elderly people may want to consider the real benefits to having a landline in their home or apartment. Here are the two main reasons:

 

Reception

1. The reception sounds better on a home phone. No doubt about it – home phones are much clearer and rarely, if ever, drop calls. If you have a hearing loss condition or live in a noisy household, a landline doesn’t have the echo chamber that most cell phones have.

Emergencies

2.  In case of an emergency, a landline is connected to your address. Even if you live in an apartment, the landline allows the 911 operator to know exactly which apartment number the emergency call is coming from. Calling 911 on a cell phone and not being able to give them your exact location is dangerous, because cell phones rely on towers and GPS for a person’s location. An emergency crew is in a hit or miss situation if you call on a cell phone and you can’t talk.

Granted, there is a cost to having a landline in addition to a cell phone. But the comforting benefit of a landline is knowing that people can actually hear you and, in case of an emergency, 911 will be much quicker to respond to your home.

Death~What a Wonderful Way to Explain it

I don’t know who to attribute this wonderful passage to, but I thought it to be very comforting:

A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to
Leave the examination room and said,
‘Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.’
Very quietly, the doctor said, ‘I don’t know.’
‘You don’t know? You’re, a Christian man,
and don’t know what’s on the other side?’
The doctor was holding the handle of the door;
On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining,
And as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room
And leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.
Turning to the patient, the doctor said,
‘Did you notice my dog?
He’s never been in this room before.
He didn’t know what was inside.
He knew nothing except that his master was here,
And when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.
I know little of what is on the other side of death,
But I do know one thing…
I know my Master is there and that is enough.’

You Turned 50. Did You Get Your AARP Letter Yet?

Turning 50 is Depressing Enough

Nothing is as depressing as turning 50 and getting a letter from AARP in the mail wanting you to join their association. Yes, I said it, AARP. You know, the American Association of Retired People who focus on the elderly. They apparently have the list of everyone’s birthday and send out membership letters like clockwork within days of your 50th. The campaign must work because the association has about 37 million members. But when I got my letter, it depressed me like nothing else. I didn’t feel old and was kind of insulted I got the letter. A dagger to the heart. The first vestige that I will now be viewed in a different category. The stark reality that I was now at the upper end of the 25-54 advertising demographic. Soon, no one would care or think I was relevant from an advertising and marketing standpoint.

Is AARP Really Worth It?

However, after a few promotional offers came in the mail, it was time I began really looking into what the membership offered. I joined. Joining AARP does have benefits to people over 50. Discounts on hotels, insurance and restaurants. However, the discounts aren’t really any better than if you get a AAA discount or a credit card discount on hotels and restaurants. The insurance is good. My mother has it and likes it. AARP also advocates for the elderly, which can be a good thing because they can be the collective voice for the elderly.

Well, after a couple of years, I let my membership lapse because it didn’t seem like the AARP discounts were any better than other discounts I already had. AARP keeps trying to get me back, though. I get monthly letters from them wanting me to rejoin. The frequency by which the letters come are really bothersome. If AARP would spend its money offering deeper discounts and better membership benefits rather spending it on postage for monthly mailers, I may be enticed to re-join. Until then, the offers just go into the shredder.