Your parents worked hard all their lives to save for a retirement that would ensure their comfort in their golden years, as well as to build a nice nest egg for their children and grandchildren to enjoy after they are gone. It would break your heart to discover they were victims of scammers who are determined to separate them from the assets they spent a lifetime building. Unfortunately for many residents of Mississippi and elsewhere, there are many financial scams that target the elderly and the vulnerable.
According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, about one out of every 20 senior citizens in the U.S. is a victim of financial scams or of people they know and trust. Your parents may have been intelligent and financially savvy throughout their lives, but sophisticated cons and declining mental acuity can make them easier targets in their senior years. The following scams are common against the elderly and the mentally vulnerable:
- Fake calls by scammers pretending to be IRS agents or utility companies, demanding immediate payment and saying the victim faces fines or arrest if he or she doesn’t comply
- A trusted caregiver, sometimes a family member, who has the elderly person sign over control of the finances or makes him or her the sole beneficiary of a will
- Emails falsely claiming to be a relative or friend who is in desperate need of money
- Viruses that shut down a computer and direct the user to a con artist who says he or she can fix the computer for a fee
- False sweepstakes or lottery notifications that require an upfront fee before the “winnings” will be paid
Sadly, many of these cons can drain your parents’ savings and retirement accounts before you can intervene. If you worry that your parents may become targets of financial scammers or dishonest relatives, you may wish to explore legal options.