Beware of scams targeting older people’s homes

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Photo: Aaron Murphy/Freeimages

I’ve read multiple articles recently about scams targeting older people, especially those who are in poor health and who are struggling financially. Criminals are getting savvy, implementing complex schemes to steal one of the most precious possessions: one’ s home.

Aging in place is a popular concept nowadays, but there are many older people struggling to stay in their homes. The housing market crash and economic instability has left older generations struggling to hang on to the place they’ve called home for most of their lives. This makes them vulnerable to scam artists, who set up phony agencies and organizations that pretend to help people keep their homes. As one aging immigrant learned, he had actually signed his home away to strangers.

Those in the early stages of dementia are no doubt prime targets for such scams. That’s why it’s so important to stay involved with your aging relatives’ lives, even if you don’t live near them. Call them regularly, or write letters, but keep an open line of communication. If something seems amiss, it probably is, and should be investigated.

Mom managed the family finances, which was a relief as Dad developed dementia, because we didn’t have to worry about taking away the checkbook from him.  After Dad died and as she was recovering from cancer, I was concerned about Mom getting sucked into some kind of scam, because she loved to talk to people and was generally a trusting person. By that point, I was helping Mom pay bills and routinely monitored for any anomalies. Thankfully, there were none.

I can’t imagine how terrible it must feel to be in your 70s or 80s, in poor health, and receive an eviction notice for a home you owned for decades. The old adage, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” applies now more than ever. Preventing such predatory transactions is key, because it can be difficult to fight in court once the paperwork is signed. Stay vigilant in protecting your aging loved one’s assets.

 

 

 

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2 Comments

Filed under Awareness & Activism

2 responses to “Beware of scams targeting older people’s homes

  1. Thank you for sharing this informative info.

    Several years ago, my in-laws were scammed. Someone called and said he was their grandson and that he needed money. He asked them to wire it, so they went to Western Union right away, because he said he was in trouble. Thankfully, the clerk at Western Union asked them to call their grandson first and make sure it was him. They said they’d seen seniors scammed before. That’s when they learned it wasn’t him and luckily never sent the money.

    • Wow, I have heard about that particular scheme before but haven’t known anyone directly affected. So glad Western Union was aware of the scam before your in-laws became victims.

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