We generally want to believe the best in people and hope that others do not have bad intentions, especially when it comes to senior citizens or those who are cognitively vulnerable. Sadly, at the law office of Laputka, Bayless, Ecker & Cohn, PC, we are aware that there are people who would take advantage of the easily manipulated and overly trusting. Vulnerable residents of Pennsylvania and elsewhere are regularly defrauded by scammers.
About one out of every 20 senior citizens in the United States each year are victimized in financial scams, according to the National Adult Protective Services Association. You may have heard about some of these common scams, which include the following:
- Phone calls from people falsely claiming to be IRS agents, demanding the victim pay immediately or be arrested
- Emails, text messages or calls from someone posing as a family member in trouble and asking for money
- Fraudulent sweepstakes or lottery outfits that require a “processing fee” before the victim can receive the winnings
- Door-to-door salespeople offering to do yard work or home repairs, asking for an upfront deposit while setting a false appointment
Elderly people and those suffering from cognitive impairments might not realize they are being targeted. It can also be easy to fool someone who is not technologically savvy into falling for an online scam. If you suspect your loved one may be at risk of falling prey to scammers, you may want to speak with him or her about granting you power of attorney to protect your loved one’s financial and personal interests. Other options, including legal guardianship, also exist to protect vulnerable citizens from financial abuse. Our website explains more about these options.