May is National Elder Law Month. This month, and every month, our goal is to ensure that seniors have the support they need to live healthy, full, and safe lives. This includes not only planning for their future with Florida estate planning and long-term care planning solutions, but ensuring they are safe from any potential threats.
Right now, research shows us that seniors or “Older Americans”, continue to be one of the most targeted groups by criminals. “Older Americans” are those people who are over the age of 60 living in America. As a generation, this group is more targeted by scammers because they are perceived to be less aware and more easily taken advantage of.
One of our goals this month is to ensure that Older Americans are aware of scammers who are trying to take advantage of them. We want to share with you several of the scams that are on the rise and continue to target Florida seniors month after month.
1. Mail scams. As a generation, Older Americans are one of the last remaining groups to still read every piece of mail they receive. Seniors are considered more trusting of mail. This is why scammers will send incentives, threats, and overt promises to seniors in the mail. As a senior, you need to be extremely discerning of the mail that you read. Do not provide financial information through the mail and avoid providing your private information to anyone you do not have a personal connection to.
2. Utility Bill Scams. The utility bill scam continues to be on the rise. In the utility bill scam, the scammer calls the senior or sends a letter telling him or her that unless money is paid immediately, the senior will lose his or her utilities. This can be a terrifying prospect for a senior. Should you receive any type of communication like this, do not interact. Instead, contact your utility company independently to ask questions. Do not use the number or address provided by the potential scammer.
3. Hurricane insurance scams. In Florida specifically, hurricane insurance scams are on the rise. Through this type of scam a fraudulent insurance company pretends to be able to provide additional support and security to Older Americans. You may receive a phone call or a piece of mail promising complete coverage in the event of a storm in exchange for information and money right now. While there are valid types of hurricane insurance, do not trust a phone call or a piece of mail. Instead, talk to a licensed insurance provider before taking a step forward.
4. identity theft scams. Today, there are more and more identity theft scams targeting seniors. The goal is for the senior to give up valuable, private information that will enable the scammer to take his or her identity and access all assets. Only provide information online in limited circumstances where you know it is safe to interact. In addition, consider investing in a security protection service that will monitor your identity and ensure it is not taken by a predator.
We know how challenging facing any of these scams can be. If you have questions or know of a scam you feel we should be aware of, do not wait to contact our office. We are here to support you and your family and make sure you do not fall victim to any of these crimes.