Elder Scam #9 – Craigslist Sale – Overpayment

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.

Craigslist Ad Started Out Innocently

A woman places an ad on Craigslist trying to sell her mother’s vintage bedroom set. A person replies by email and tells the woman she really wants the set because she is going to ship it down south to another home. Overnight, the seller gets a check in the mail for the price of the bedroom set plus shipping costs. The buyer emails the seller and tells her to cash the check, pay the shipper, ship the bedroom set, and keep the extra money. No phone numbers or phone calls were ever exchanged. The seller, feeling a bit leery, takes the check to the police station. The police tell her that the check is phony. Well, if the seller had deposited the check and shipped the bedroom set, by the time the check bounced, the seller would have been out the cost of the bedroom set and the shipping costs. Fortunately, the seller had the wherewithal to suspect something was fishy. However, if it had been her elderly mother that was selling the bedroom set, the outcome may have been quite different.

Family members need to be cautious and stay informed of what their elderly relatives are doing. We live in an age where trusting a stranger or trying to help out a stranger on blind faith no longer provides the “feel good” rewards that it once did. Unfortunately, the “do good” outlook that many of the elderly grew up with has been corrupted by charlatans and swindlers.

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Elder Scam #8: Your Computer May Be Infected

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.

Caller Says There is a Computer Security Risk

People posing as computer engineers are making cold walls warning people that their computers are at risk for a security threat. The person on the other end offers a free security check over the telephone, but the “engineer” needs remote access to your computer for a diagnosis and a fix.  Once you give these “engineers” remote access, software is downloaded on your computer that allows them to steal your identity, take money from your bank account and look at any other information you may have on your computer.  To boot, once the software is downloaded and your information has been taken, your computer gets hit with a virus.  A similar scam comes in the form of a fake virus protection pop-up while you are on the internet or a virus protection offer in the form of an email.

Don’t Give Out Computer Information

The best practice is to warn your loved one about giving out computer access information over the telephone and on-line and about the dangers of clicking on unknown links and pop-ups. Have your loved one contact you if there is ever a question about giving out personal information.

Elder Scam #7 – Stranger at a Funeral

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.

A “Friend” of the Deceased

A stranger scours through the local obituaries for upcoming funeral services. The stranger shows up at the viewing or the funeral service telling the family that he/she was a friend of the deceased. During the conversation, the stranger tells the family that the deceased owes them money and shows them a falsified I.O.U. or Promissory Note. The grieving family, not knowing any better and not in a right frame of mind, pays the stranger.

Elders and their family members should be leery of those that try to capitalize right after a loved one dies. Politely ask them to contact you the following month to settle any debts of the deceased. Typically, if it is a legitimate debt, you will be contacted. But most often, the stranger will not try to contact you again.

 

 

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.