According to an article from Time Magazine in (online, May 9, 2018), two new scams targeting seniors are on the rise, and involve bogus calls from various government departments alleging that the person had not shown up for jury duty or responded to a court case, and immediate payment is needed to stay out of jail. Or, the cal may be about unpaid parking tickets that must be paid now, over the phone. The articles cites to a 2016 study that found that nearly one in five US Adults over 65 years old were victims of financial abuse.
So, what can you do? Talk to your parents to make sure that they know to be on the lookout for scammers and not to respond by giving up credit card or bank account information, or worse yet, rushing out to get money orders or gift cards to send to someone on the phone. Let your parents know to turn to family members or other trusted persons for help, to avoid getting ripped off.
And while we’re talking about helping your parents, make sure to have the conversation with them and make sure that they have gotten their estate planning in order. A surprising number of older adults do not, and this can create real problems not only when they die, but while they are alive and have become incapacitated. You want to make sure that they have documents their wishes and put the right people in place to manage their affairs, and their healthcare decisions, if they become unable to do so. Proper planning not only helps ensure that their wishes are followed, but also avoids needless expenses of their assets to have courts appoint guardians and conservators to take care of them, subject to court oversight.
For tips on how to talk to your parents about these issues, check out this video for lots of helpful information.