Don’t Be Their Next Victim
October 9, 2012 § Leave a comment
Unfortunately we have noticed a couple recent posts on Facebook about our friends’ elderly relatives being swindled. The most recent post involved an elderly woman who lives in an assisted living facility. She received a call from a person claiming to be her granddaughter. The girl said she had been arrested in Mexico because she was caught with marijuana. The caller begged “Grandma” to help and not tell her parents about the situation. She said she needed Grandma to wire $3900 right away so she could be released from jail. The Grandma did as she was asked. Once the money had been wired, the girl called back within hours and said she needed another $2500. Luckily before Grandma could send the second installment, her son arrived and stopped her.
Of course this is just one of many scams that thieves use to target the elderly. A popular con that occurs after a storm or natural disaster is carried out by crooks commonly called “storm chasers” because they sweep into an affected area after a storm to try and bilk unsuspecting homeowners. Many times these men ask for upfront money, promise a quick repair and then disappear. Avoid this type of scam by checking the Better Business Bureau, get proof of a contractor’s license and workers compensation insurance and get everything in writing (estimates, materials, prices and completion dates).
Another way to steer clear of many phone scams is to avoid answering calls from area code 876. This code appears to be in the U.S. but it is actually from Jamaica. According to the AARP, “Approximately 30,000 calls are made from Jamaica into the United States – each day – attempting to defraud American citizens.”
Many times calls from 876 will tell the person who answers the phone that they have won a lottery prize and all they need to do to claim their prize is to pay the tax on the prize through a wire transfer. It is important to remind elderly loved ones to not answer calls with an 876 area code, but also remind them that they should never have to pay money for a prize they haven’t received yet.
If you do find yourself or loved one has been duped by a con, your first step should be to contact the police department. Unfortunately if the money was paid in cash or wired, it is highly unlikely it will be recovered. If in the process of the scam you released bank or credit card information, you will need to contact the appropriate bank or card provider to have a hold placed on the account. You may also want to contact a lawyer in case of potential identity theft.
Remember education is the best way to prevent becoming victim of a scam.
The Legacy Law Firm, LLC is located in Sandwich, Illinois and focuses on elder law and Life Care Planning for clients. The office may be reached by calling 815-570-2334 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.