Door-to-door scams heat up as the mercury rises. During warm spring and summer days, swindlers are more likely to make the rounds. Unfortunately, older adults are often the target of these types of scams.
Experts say this is because scammers believe seniors are naïve and too polite to close the door on a smooth-talking salesperson who shows up on their doorstep. Once they fall victim to a scam, criminals also think seniors may be too embarrassed to report the crime.
How can you help protect an older loved one from scams this summer? It starts with educating them about this type of crime and the scams that are most popular during the summer.
5 Popular Summer Scams That Target Seniors
- Home maintenance and repairs: Older adults fall victim to these scams every summer. Working in teams, scammers target neighborhoods where homes are predominantly occupied by older adults. They often claim to be working on another house in the neighborhood, meaning they can offer the senior better prices for home repairs and maintenance chores. It might be to clean gutters, trim trees, replace a roof, or seal the driveway. Once the older adult gives them a deposit, they either start the project and never complete it or never start the project at all.
- Fake fundraising: These scams are often successful because they use teenagers who are usually unaware they are perpetuating a scam. They pay junior and senior high school students to sell magazines, candy, gift wrap, and other items door-to-door. But the older adult never receives the product they order.
- Political surveys: Seniors are the most likely to vote in political elections when compared to other demographic groups. This interest in politics makes them more likely to engage with someone who knocks on their door pretending to be collecting answers for a political survey. It is often a scam designed to allow thieves to assess the senior’s home for an opportunity to rob them later.
- Energy audit scams: These scams are similar to fake political surveys. Thieves pose as utility workers offering to conduct free energy audits to identify ways the senior can save on utility bills. Once they gain access to the home, they rob the older adult or come back later to steal valuables they identified while inside the home.
- Home alarm companies: This scam plays on the fear older adults have about someone breaking into their home. Thieves pose as workers from a home alarm company that is in the neighborhood promoting a special. The senior will receive free alarm installation if they pre-pay for several months of monitoring service. Once the older adult hands over their money, they never hear from the alarm company again. The situation can be further complicated if the senior pays by credit card. This gives the con artists the older adult’s credit card number, which puts them at risk for future fraudulent purchases.
You can protect yourself and the older adults in your family by staying abreast of the latest scams. A few ways to do that include following the FBI on Facebook and signing up for email alerts from the Identity Theft Resource Center.
Visit Sunrise This Summer
Summer is a great time to explore senior living communities and learn more about the variety of options that are available. Take advantage of the summer sunshine and contact the Sunrise community nearest you to schedule a time for a personal tour. You can even stay for lunch to sample one of our delicious, chef-prepared meals for yourself!
Source: Sunrise Senior Living