Aging and fraud: how to fend off scammers as we grow older

Friday, June 7th, 2019

As we age, we become more vulnerable to scammers. According to a report by NPR, as few as one in 44 cases of financial scams are ever reported, and older people lose anywhere from $2.9 billion to $36 billion each year from financial exploitation.

It’s a scary prospect, knowing that many adults with no cognitive impairment are especially susceptible to financial scams. The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation this year to help address rising elder abuse in Virginia, but it’s important to have a plan of action in the event of a scam. According to the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Never send money up front, especially cash or a pre-paid card that can be nearly impossible to recoup.

– If you receive a solicitation whether online, in person, or over the phone, wait 24 hours before acting. During that time, reach out to a relative, a friend, law enforcement, the company, your Triad community outreach coordinator, or the OAG Consumer Protection office to see if it’s a known scam.

Older adults are not just vulnerable to scammers; they are also vulnerable to dishonest businesses, loan sharks, and even family members. VPLC has two services that can help:

Senior Legal Helpline (844) 802-5910 | Get legal advice from our elder law attorney about abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation as well as other topics affecting Virginia’s senior population.

Predatory Loan Hotline (866) 830-4501 | Our hotline can assist if you are the victim of a payday, car title, or internet loan.

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