In the last three weeks, we discussed the telemarketing and internet scams focused on senior citizens. To learn more about those topics, you can visit: http://www.dclawfirm.net/blog--news/why-are-retirees-easy-targets-for-con-artists-part-one, http://www.dclawfirm.net/blog--news/why-are-retirees-easy-targets-for-con-artists-part-two and http://www.dclawfirm.net/blog--news/why-are-retirees-easy-targets-for-con-artists-part-three. Today, we begin the final part in our four (4) part series on elderly financial scams. In this article, we’ll be discussing mail fraud, home repair fraud and professional fraud.
Caregivers can help monitor loved ones’ mail for potential mail fraud. Stacks of unsolicited mail with various offers for money or prizes is a quick indicator that your loved one is being targeted for a scam. Also, if you notice packages of cheap costume jewelry or other “gifts” arriving by mail to your loved one, inquire about the source of the items and the circumstances leading to their receipt.
If your loved one has provided confidential personal data, be watchful for unauthorized transactions in their financial accounts and alert their banker to the situation. Review their checkbook entries and look for unusually large withdrawals or checks written to unfamiliar companies. Credit card statements should be checked for any unauthorized charges. It’s also advisable to examine your loved one’s credit rating to
In the last two weeks, we have discussed the dangers associated with scams aimed at seniors. To learn more about those topics, you can visit: http://www.dclawfirm.net/blog--news/why-are-retirees-easy-targets-for-con-artists-part-one and http://www.dclawfirm.net/blog--news/why-are-retirees-easy-targets-for-con-artists-part-two. Today, we begin Part three (3) in our four (4) part series on elderly financial scams by diving into internet and computer scams and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Senior Citizens have traditionally been less apt to be the subject of Internet scams because of a lack of technological savvy. However, as the Baby Boomers move fully into retirement years, we have seen an increase in the number of Internet scams, due to the group’s advanced comfort with computers.
Last week, we discussed the most common types of scams perpetrated on Western Kansas seniors. To read more, you can visit: http://www.dclawfirm.net/blog--news/why-are-retirees-easy-targets-for-con-artists-part-one. Today, we begin Part two (2) in our four (4) part series on financial scams and learn what you can do to protect yourself from a telemarketing trap.
How Can I Identify a Telemarketing Scam and What Should I Do?
These are some of the most common tactics used to commit fraud by telephone:
Urgency or Mania: A fraudulent telemarketer will scream and shout about how excited they are that you have won a prize or say something similar to, “You are the grand prizewinner, but if you don’t accept your reward immediately (and pay a “handling charge”) the runner-up will win instead.”
Authority: The telemarketer puts his “boss” on the phone, so you will know the offer is “legitimate.” The “boss” is another accomplice in the scam.
Fear of Missing Out: The prize you have won is so good, you think you can’t pass up this deal of a lifetime. This is an especially dangerous tactic tempting lower-income level seniors who already are struggling to make ends meets.
Reciprocity/Pity: The caller explains that he or she won’t get paid unless you accept the prize and pay the "handling fee". If you protest that you can’t afford the fee, the scammer asks how much you can afford, and says he or she will make a special exception for you and accept the lower amount.
Recently we presented an article on financial abuse of elderly. Today, we continue that theme by providing the first in a four (4) part series on the types of fraud attempts to which older adults often are subjected.
Why are some retirees from Western Kansas targeted for elder financial abuse and cons? In addition to slowing cognitive skills, some of these individuals have a significant amount of money sitting in their bank accounts and other financial investments, making them prime targets for swindlers. They tend to be retired, at home, answer their telephones and open their mail. According to a report by the Federal Trade Commission, 56% - 80% of telemarketing scams are directed toward senior citizens. Lest you be misled, wealthy, aging adults are not the only ones targeted. Low-income elders are at risk for financial abuse, as well. Their more precarious financial situation puts them at an even greater risk of loss of independence if the con-job is successful.
Think all scams are generated by Internet or telemarketing fraudsters? Think again. Professionals such as attorneys, financial advisers, insurance agents, and funeral homes have been found to manipulate
Financial abuse of elderly individuals is a criminal offense. Not only does this crime steal older adults of their assets, in some cases due to the drain on their assets, it steals their independence.
If you see signs of fraud, theft, or misuse of a person’s resources or credit, you should be on alert. If you suspect a person is using undue influence to gain control of a senior citizen’s assets or property, contact authorities with your concerns.
There are ways you can protect yourself or an aging loved one from fraudsters.
How To Protect Yourself As A Senior Citizen
1. Meet with your estate planning attorney and financial adviser or tax professional to create an estate plan that protects your assets and provides for your loved ones after your death. If you feel unduly pressured by friends or family members to gift them money or other assets, your attorney can prepare a trust based estate plan that will protect your assets from these uninvited requests, but still provide for all of your personal needs and expenses.
2. Select a trusted person or financial institution to act as your agent in the event you become incapacitated and need assistance with paying bills, taxes and making other financial decisions. If you name a family member or friend, you may want to consider naming two (2) individuals to share the responsibility as a way to create a checks and balances system. You should have a legal document known as a Durable General Power of Attorney prepared by your attorney to appoint someone to act as your agent. This Power of Attorney will hold an individual legally responsible for any financial misconduct committed by them while acting as your agent.
3. All financial information such as receipts, bank statements and unused credit cards should be shredded before being thrown away.
4. Never, EVER, provide your personal information, including your Social Security Number, or any financial information over the telephone unless you initiated the call and you have verified that the other party is
Because November is Long-term Care Awareness Month, for the past few weeks we’ve been talking about Medicaid planning. Those of us who work with Medicaid planning and elder care services know what Medicaid planning can and cannot do for a person, but do you?
The purpose of Medicaid planning is to preserve your assets and set up your affairs in such a way that “the State” will pay the majority of the nursing home care costs, if or when the time comes. With good Medicaid planning, you should need only to contribute your income toward nursing home care costs. With Medicaid planning, you should not need to sell assets in order to pay for your long term care. If you have a spouse, with Medicaid planning you may be able to preserve income for your spouse rather than paying it to the nursing home in certain circumstances.
Long-term Care (LTC) broadly refers to medical and social services designed to support the needs of people living with chronic health problems that affect their ability to perform everyday activities. Long-term care services include traditional medical services, social services, and housing. Odds are, the majority of people over the age of 65 will need LTC at some point, but most people don’t plan for it. Sure, people think about and plan for retirement, but rarely are LTC costs factored into such a plan. If you require nursing home care, in our experience, your costs could be as much as $84,000.00 or more a year. For one person in western Kansas—that can be quite the unexpected expense.
What are some ways you can pay for LTC should nursing home care be required?
Sometimes our best laid plans simply don’t work. We typically don’t plan on illness, being in an accident, or early on-set Alzheimer’s. When life doesn’t happen like we plan, we need to be able to talk to someone well-versed in long-term care planning who can help develop a new plan that accomplishes our goals.
Long-term care crisis planning can mean many things, but ultimately it is based on the notion that a major, unplanned life event occurred, and you need to figure out how to move forward with care and address the costs of such care.
Here are a few of the ways we can help you:
Attorney Kristina Crawford of Davis & McCann, P. A. located in Dodge City, Kansas, recently attended a specialized course on key legal technical concepts aimed at Medicaid planning and planning for individuals and families in crisis situations.
Elder law attorneys provide specialized legal services in the areas of estate planning, elder law, Medicaid, and Special Needs Planning. Specialized training is required to provide competent service in these areas and ensure proper implementation of legal strategies.
With many senior citizens today facing long-term costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars, Ms. Crawford can knowledgeably help clients figure out how to pay for nursing home, assisted living facility or home health care without depleting their hard-earned assets.
Clients should have confidence that Ms. Crawford will not only be proficient in this area of law, but also that she will draft comprehensive documents to support the implemented strategies and ensure proper execution of the clients’ plan.
Medicaid planning allows Attorney Kristina Crawford at Davis & McCann, P. A. to save their clients not only hundreds of thousands of dollars but also the stress of how to pay for long term care. This is only one example of the valuable elder law services the firm provides.
NEWS YOU CAN USE
Davis & McCann, P. A.,