OHIO— Scams targeting the elderly are on the rise, and it's not just strangers who try to take advantage of aging adults.
It's often those who are closest to seniors — neighbors, friends, and even family members are responsible.
An Ohio law is on the books, designed to reduce how often older Ohioans are defrauded and increase the financial penalties for those who exploit the elderly.
The bill increases financial penalties for theft from someone older than 65. It mandates someone convicted to pay full restitution, plus a fine of up to $50,000.
Even with increased awareness and efforts by lawmakers, more than 3,630 cases of elder exploitation were reported across Ohio in 2018, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Fraud against elder citizens are on the rise and the myriad way con artists use to gain access to your money continues to grow. Learn the signs of elder abuse and neglects, and make yourself aware of the many scams that prey on the elderly.
We've listed just a few of the most common ways that criminals try to seperate you from your money. This list could literally go on for pages and pages. Visit the common fraud page at the FBI for more details.
KNOW THE SCAMS
- Advance Fee Schemes
An advance fee scheme occurs when the victim pays money to someone in anticipation of receiving something of greater value—such as a loan, contract, investment, or gift—and then receives little or nothing in return.
- Counterfeit Prescription Drugs
Counterfeit prescription drugs are illegal, fake medicines that may be hazardous to your health.
- Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud is the unauthorized use of a credit or debit card, or card number, to fraudulently obtain money or property.
- Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when someone assumes your identity to perform a fraud or other criminal act.
- Internet Fraud
Internet fraud is the use of Internet services or software with Internet access to defraud victims or to otherwise take advantage of them.
- Reverse Mortgage Scams
Reverse mortgage scams are engineered by unscrupulous professionals in a multitude of real estate, financial services, and related companies to steal the equity from the property of unsuspecting senior citizens or to use these seniors to unwittingly aid the fraudsters in stealing equity from a flipped property.
- Telemarketing Fraud
When you send money to people you do not know personally or give personal or financial information to unknown callers, you increase your chances of becoming a victim of telemarketing fraud.
BE AWARE OF THE WARNING SIGNS
There are typically warning signs or red flags. Below are just a few.
- Watch for unusual or unexplained bank account withdrawals, wire transfers, or other financial changes.
- There may be missing cash, belongings, or valuables from an older adult's home.
- The sudden or dramatic shift in investments can be a red flag.
- Unexpected changes in wills, trusts, power of attorney, or beneficiaries should be questioned.
- Older adults may exhibit concern or confusion about missing funds or credit card charges for items they typically don't purchase.
- Money borrowed from family or friends that are not repaid.
- Change in lifestyles or becoming more isolated from friends and family is another warning sign.
KNOW HOW TO GET HELP
If you're a professional caregiver, and older adult, or are concerned that a family member is involved in a scam or financial fraud, help is available.
Suspected elder financial abuse may be reported to the Federal Trade Commission or 877-FTC-HELP and to the Senate Special Committee on Aging at 855-303-9470
Links and resources:
State and Local Consumer Agencies