Elder exploitation and scams continue to be perpetrated against Florida seniors. Unfortunately, Older Americans are seen by scammers to be easy targets. “Older Americans” is the term assigned to the generation of Americans over the age of sixty years. As a generation, this age group is thought to be, by these criminals, more trusting of methods of communication, less technologically savvy and unaware of the current exploitation scams.
It is our job as elder law attorneys, to help ensure that we minimize, if not prevent, scams against Older Americans. To this end, we want to share with you several of the major scams that are taking place in Florida right now. We want to arm you and the seniors you love with information to help prevent the spread of these crimes and access to your person.
1. Identity Theft Scams. Today, identity theft scams continue to be on the rise. These crimes can occur against seniors in three primary ways: through a phone call, through the mail or over the internet. In each of the scams, a person who is unknown to the victim is attempting to gain access to private information such as a social security number, driver’s license or bank account information. It is critical that you protect your personal information and not provide it to third parties. Further, you may want to consider investing in a company that will monitor your identity and help prevent this loss.
2. The Jury Duty Scams. The jury duty scam continues to impact seniors. Through this scam, the senior receives a mail that he or she must call in to report to jury duty. The scammer will try to elicit personal information and money from the senior when he or she calls. If you receive such a piece of mail, do not call the number provided or answer by mail. Instead, contact your local courthouse to determine if you have actually been contacted.
3. Incentive-Based Mail Scams. Seniors need to be on guard against the incentives they receive in mail. If an offer seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Further, if an organization is asking for information before you receive the incentive promised then it is more likely than not a scam. Do not send money, personal information or any form of communication through the mail in response to this type of potential scam. If you are truly interested, do your independent research to ensure this is a legitimate company and offer.
4. Hurricane Insurance Scams. In Florida especially, hurricane insurance scams are on the rise. These scammers will try to obtain a payment from you with the promise that they will completely cover any damage you have during storm season. Similar to hurricane contractor scams, these are not real companies and will not perform the work promised. If you see interested in hurricane insurance coverage, speak with a licensed provider that you trust.
We know that facing scams like these is not easy. These scams are designed to emotionally manipulate seniors and cause them to act. If you have questions or concerns on this, or any other elder law matter, do not wait to contact our office. We are ready to assist you.