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Signs Your Elderly Relative is Being Scammed

By Cherie Coe, 9:00 am on

Sweepstakes have been around forever as a means of a company promoting itself or its products. Unfortunately, phony sweepstakes have been around nearly as long, and senior citizens are often targeted by disreputable companies looking for easy targets. Determining the legitimate sweepstakes from the illegitimate kind can be difficult at times, but there are signs that can reveal a potential scam. If you notice any of the following signs presented by Jefferson County Home Care Assistance, it’s likely your loved one is being targeted by scammers. 

A Sales Promotion is Involved

Be wary of any giveaway that requires the “winner” to attend a sales meeting, especially one out of town. Your senior loved one could be the victim of a very high-pressure sales meeting, being coerced to purchase items well in excess of any proposed winnings.

Checking Account or Credit Card Information is Required

Any sweepstakes that require giving away banking information or credit card information should be avoided. Once this information is received by a scam artist, your loved one’s bank account can be cleaned out in the blink of an eye.

Calls from Strangers

The Do Not Call Registry Act prevents most telemarketers, including sweepstakes companies, from contacting a person on the Do Not Call List. Legitimate companies are aware of the law and avoid contacting people on the list. Be wary of a company that ignores your name on the list. If not registered, you can add your loved one’s name by phone at 1-888-382-1222 or on the internet via donotcall.gov.

Payment for Taxes or Fees

Do not send any money to a company requesting funds to “pay taxes or fees”. Normally, a sweepstakes winner is responsible for payment of his or her own taxes. If the company is required to collect taxes on winnings, they will simply deduct the amount from the winnings.

Fake Checks

Fake checks are often difficult to detect and are becoming a popular method of scamming the unsuspecting. Receipt of an unsolicited prize check should be viewed with extreme caution. The company may be hoping you deposit the check to obtain bank account information. If it requires to you wire funds upon receipt of the check, do not deposit it.  If the check is fake and you withdraw funds drawn against it, you may be liable if it turns out to be a forgery. If there is any doubt, present the check to the bank manager to authenticate it and never make withdrawals against it until the check completely clears.

Ensuring your senior loved one’s financial health is just as important as his or her mental and physical health. To learn more about promoting all facets of senior health and wellness, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and hourly care in Jefferson County, CO. Our trained caregivers can help seniors around the home, provide transportation, and offer companionship, among other things. For more information, call (303) 987-5992 and speak with one of our friendly Care Managers today.