As your parents age, you may have taken on more of a caretaker role. They may still live on their own, but you may visit more often and watch out for them as much as you can. One issue you may need to watch for is elder fraud.
The unfortunate truth is that, as people age, they become more vulnerable to elder fraud, particularly financial exploitation. The Department of Justice has outlined some of the potential sources of fraud you may want to watch for in your efforts to protect your parents.
Scam number one: Tech support
Your parents may be among many Texas elderly adults who do not have the tech savvy needed in today’s technological world. This leaves them vulnerable to scammers who may contact them alleging your parents’ computer has an issue. The person on the other end of the line will want to take control of the computer remotely in order to make repairs, which are non-existent or caused by the scammers in the first place. Your parents then pay for this so-called service, but that may not be the end of it.
Some will take the scam even further and steal more money from your parents by first offering a refund for services no longer available and then saying they received too much in refunds. The perpetrator will then require payments from your parents to make up for the difference.
Scam number two: Suspended Social Security number
In this scam, someone contacts your parents pretending to work for the Social Security Administration. The caller claims your parent’s Social Security number was suspended for suspicious activity. The caller will then threaten that if they don’t act quickly, their accounts will be frozen or seized. The caller ID will most likely make it appear to be a legitimate call, but it probably isn’t.
Of course, scammers will want to verify the number and other personal information, which gives the caller everything he or she needs for identity theft. The scammer may also want access to your parents’ accounts or have them put their money on gift cards or in some other place to supposedly keep it safe.
Scam number three: The IRS
In this scam, your parents are told they owe unpaid taxes that they need to pay immediately in order to avoid arrest, suspension of a driver’s or business license, or even deportation. The caller will insist on immediate payment on a gift card or through a wire transfer. The call will appear legitimate since the person will give a badge number and name.
You and your parents should know that the IRS would never make these calls insisting on immediate payment or make the threats these scammers make.