In 2019, more than 20,000 imposter scams were reported. The numbers keep growing as 5,000 cases had been reported by March 2020. One of the most common scams is the grandparent scam.
While the scam is frequently mentioned on the news, older adults often fall for the desperation and emotional appeal of the caller. One grandmother lost $14,000 in a scam where she was told her grandson had been in an accident.
It’s impossible to know how you’d react in a stressful situation until it happens to you. Take time to go over the best steps for your parents to take. If they live alone and answer their phone rather than always letting it go to voicemail, make sure they know the steps for identifying and ignoring scammers.
Is it time to have caregivers around? If your parents have some diminishing mental acuity, caregivers can help them with phone, mail, and email management. Your parents will have someone to remind them of these important rules.
Don’t Answer Unknown Numbers
Don’t answer a call if you don’t know the number. If it’s important, the caller will leave a message. This will protect them in some situations, but it can’t stop them all. Spoofed calls are a continual problem that makes it hard to avoid scam calls.
Even better, don’t answer the phone at all. You avoid spoofed calls using this technique. If it’s a valid call, they’ll leave a number.
Know What Spoofed Calls Are
A spoofed call looks like it’s coming from a local person or business. The scammer uses an app or program that fools your caller ID into believing the cool came from another number. The scammer could be in India, but the caller ID shows the local hospital is calling.
Your parents should always answer the phone and not say another word. If they don’t recognize the voice, they should hang up without saying a word. If the caller demands money, it’s a scam. If the caller demands information like account numbers or an SSN, it’s also a scam.
Never Give Out Gift Cards or Cash to a Stranger
A caller may say that a debt must be paid or your parents face arrest, repossession, or debt collection. The IRS, police, etc. will not demand gift cards in order to collect a fine or unpaid debt. It’s never going to happen. Make sure your parents know any caller demanding gift cards is a scammer.
Don’t use a delivery service like FedEx or UPS to send cash to a stranger. Anyone demanding a cash payment is likely running a scam.
Your parents can live alone without worrying about scammers. Hire caregivers to join your parents each day for companionship. With someone to talk to, your parents may be less likely to seek friendship from a stranger on the phone.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering a Caregiver in Upland, CA please contact the caring staff at Motherly Comfort Home Care, LLC today at (909) 610-3222.