People with elderly parents or other senior relatives or friends must always be on the lookout for signs that someone may have taken advantage of their older loved ones in scams that can drain them of their money and assets. Some of these concerned Coloradans may be in fiduciary positions – meaning having a legal role that makes them responsible for a vulnerable person’s financial and personal well-being – such as guardians, conservators, those named as agents under financial powers of attorney, guardians ad litem, representative payees of Social Security payments, trustees or other titles with similar responsibilities.
As a person ages, it is not unusual for them to begin to have problems with cognition, memory, illness, disability or self-care.
A Denver prosecutor has warned the public of scams related to the coronavirus, reports The Colorado Independent. During this time, elderly people may be isolating themselves at home without ready access to the people who would normally help protect them from exploitation. Plus, the isolation may make them feel desperate for the help of others without thinking through the possibility that someone could take advantage of them.
Some of the scams discussed include:
- Offers using fraud to speed up the delivery of economic impact checks by requesting bank account information and then using it for other purposes like theft
- Offers to help people who are quarantining to get groceries or other things by requesting account information or cash, which the perpetrator then steals
- Getting into people’s homes or apartments to deliver or help put away goods purchased for them in order to steal valuables, wallets or money
- Thieves posing – via phone, email or social media – as charities that help people with COVID-19, or that assist institutions with personal protective equipment or research, and then utilizing donors’ credit card numbers for their own use
- Similar scams to get credit card numbers with false promises to send at-home coronavirus tests
Those concerned about vulnerable loved ones during this uncertain time can discuss with them the kinds of scams related to COVID-19 and the related warning signs for which to watch; the danger of letting anyone into your home; and the risks inherent in sharing credit card or bank account numbers. It may be wise to talk to their financial institution or credit card company to learn whether there are safety devices to put on their accounts to combat fraud.