A client of mine recently told me about a situation in which their dear family member was the victim of a scam. Luckily, my client was able to notify Equifax to freeze the victim’s credit, and was able to notify the victim’s banks to place a scam alert on the accounts. The concerned family member had previously been designated as Agent under Power of Attorney, which enabled her to move quickly.
In the case I’m telling you about, the caller had impersonated a Social Security Administration representative, got her to relate her birth date and Social Security number, and scared the victim by saying that she was “in big trouble and there’s an arrest warrant out for you. To solve this, you need to send us $_____ in gift cards.” Social Security has a procedure in which the victim can report such scams, but they must fill out an online notification. The reports can’t be filed by telephone. Click here to read about it and find the on-line form.
There are a number of organizations and government agencies that provide useful information on detecting, avoiding and reporting scams. These links are to their specific pages concerning this issue. Among them are the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, the National Council on Aging, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, and the Elder Justice Initiative at the US Department of Justice. (I am not specifically endorsing any of these entities, just listing them for information).
Caring for a loved one with cognitive limitations includes being on guard for potential threats posed by scammers. Have the discussion with your loved one about signs to watch for, common tactics that are used, and how important it is that s/he notify you or another involved family member or power of attorney. Scammers are increasingly sophisticated and tricky, and the person who receives such a call is often both terrified and embarassed to tell anyone else. By educating your loved one about these issues you may be able to prevent major loss from occurring, and of course you will build your trusting relationship with him or her. Forewarned is forearmed, and you can help your loved one stand up to such scams and avoid being victimized.
Call us for advice about elder care and senior care legal problems … 732-382-6070