Are Your Elderly Parents Victims of a Scam?
Your elderly parents might not be one of your top concerns. You probably have to worry about chasing children around at high speeds while on a high-stakes conference call. Dinner can wait. Laundry is not a concern until it is scary. However, your elderly parents might be in danger of falling victim to a scam. Sadly, seniors can be very attractive targets for con artists. Even worse, recent statistics suggest about one-third of senior citizens do not report scams due to a variety of different factors.
What to Look for and How You Can Help Without Being Overbearing
You probably do not want to babysit your parents any more than your parents want you to babysit them. It is important to pay attention to what your parents say and what they are spending their money on. Senior citizens tend to make good targets for financial and real or estate scams because they typically have savings and equity in a home. A few things to look for include:
- Watch if your parents make any large purchases that are uncharacteristic. Also, keep an eye out for unusual services that your parents pay for which are difficult to understand.
- Ask questions about real estate propositions such as reverse mortgages. Reverse mortgages can be great for some seniors, but they are not right for everyone.
- Start to look a little deeper if you notice that your parents get an unusually high number of calls from telemarketers or an unusually high volume of junk mail.
- Ask your parents if it would be okay for you to look over their credit reports. You might see something that does not seem right, and an extra set of eyes never hurt anyone.
Do Not Be Afraid to Ask Questions and Have Open Conversations
You can easily ask questions without sounding judgmental or overbearing. Do not be afraid to open a dialogue about new real estate investment ideas. Also, do not be afraid to express concern about your parents. Instead of making your elderly parents feel stupid for (almost) falling for a scam, take a stance. Offer to help your elderly parents or offer a second opinion instead of having a panic attack. Remember, scams can happen to people of all ages.
Report Scams to the Authorities and Move On
It is important to ensure that scams do not go unreported. Also, it is important not to brush off suspicious activity. Help your parents stay vigilant. If they do fall victim to a scam, be there to help them pick up the pieces and continue living life to the fullest.