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Scammers target older people for a range of reasons. Seniors can be lonely making them more willing to communicate with scammers. Memory loss, dementia, or other age-related issues may impair judgment. Many seniors have amassed some amount of wealth over the years, often keeping valuable items within their home, and despite their best efforts may be naïve about the many ways in which fraud is committed today.

Listed below are examples of how scammers are trying to separate you from your valuables at home:

Charity Scam: This type of scam can occur door-to-door. They may sound legitimate and even have a badge or paperwork that looks legitimate. These individuals ask for credit cards or bank cards to provide the donation, claiming that it is the only way they can accept donations. Once you’ve given that information, they can liquidate your accounts.

How to Prevent: Make donations directly to the organizations you want to support. 

Contractor Scam: Someone is at your door asking if you want your driveway blacktopped/sealed, need a new roof/windows, or that they are doing work for someone in the neighborhood. They say they have extra material in the truck and have a great deal for you.  They don’t provide estimates, paperwork, or business cards and there’s no name on their truck.  They’ll want to speak to you VERY BADLY outside of your home. 

How to Prevent: Don’t open the door and tell them “No”. 

Public Works Scam: The scammer claims they work for public works and need to check water pressure, electricity, sewer, or other issues.  Once they are in your home or keeping you occupied, their partner will sneak into the house and rob it. 

How to Prevent: Never go outside with them or allow them in your home. While they are outside call the municipality they claim to represent and verify if they are legitimate.

Front Door Scam: They may be someone trying to sell something.  They may try to enter your home by stating they’re thirsty or need to use your phone.  These scammers frequently work in a group.  One or two people will distract the homeowner while the rest of the group goes into the homeowner’s house and rob them. 

How to Prevent: DO NOT open your door to strangers or let them in.  Be cautious of anyone at your door who doesn’t have an appointment. 

The best course of action is to contact the authorities immediately and report the incident, preferably while the person is still standing outside your front door. If you have a screen or storm door, remember to always keep it locked when you are home. When answering the door, try and have your portable or cellular phone in your hand so that you can quickly call the police or the company the individual claims to work for.

Take note of the following:

  • Name(s) of scammers and/or organization
  • Date(s) of contact
  • Method(s) of communication
  • Perpetrators’ make/model of vehicle & license plate if noted
  • Any description of interactions with scammers

Remember, be a smart consumer.  Never give out your credit/bank card information unless you have requested a specific service. Once a criminal has your pin, credit card number, or social security number, they can steal your identity, purchase items over the internet, etc. If you do fall victim, place a fraud alert with your credit agencies and close all bank and credit card accounts opened during the scam period.

At Elderwerks, our goal is to keep seniors and older loved ones safe by providing warning signs and information on current scamming methods, along with tips on how to protect yourself and those you love. We hope to reduce the number of people who become victims of senior scams every day.

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Finding assisted living or other types of aging care can be overwhelming. Let our dedicated team help you navigate your options.

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For your complimentary, person-centered assistance or help touring a senior community, call an Elderwerks Advisor today at 855-462-0100.


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