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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Common Online Schemes to Defraud Elders

The internet can be an overwhelming place. While it has provided us with the opportunity to reach out and communicate with others, this unfounded access also provides predators the opportunity to access us.

The number of senior citizens continues to increase annually. With the advent of Smartphones, it has made accessing the internet even easier. 

Generally speaking, online Elder Abuse is directed towards fraudulently obtaining finances. What is so frustrating about online Elder Abuse is that it’s 100% preventable – we just need to be aware and educate our older population. However, due to the number of different potential schemes, this can prove challenging. 

Auction Fraud

Sites such as eBay are a convenient way of obtaining wanted items for a good price. The problem lies with the fact that many of these auction-type sites are not reputable and may serve to take advantage of people by taking their money but not providing anything in return. 

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks

Cashier’s checks seem to be legitimate. However, when an elderly person is selling an item online, a buyer may send a fraudulent cashier’s check. When the elderly individual takes the check to the bank, the bank will release that money to them right away. But about one week later, after processing the payment and learning of the fraud, the bank will take the same amount of money back from the individual’s bank account.

Credit Card Fraud for Eliminating Debt 

An individual from the alleged debt elimination company may claim that the elderly individual can legally satisfy their debts so long as they pay a certain percentage of the values and provide personal financial information. This affords the opportunity for identity theft.

Employment Opportunities

It is enticing for anyone to be offered the opportunity to make easy money from the comfort of home – especially the elderly. A lot of the individuals canvassing for help are actually foreign citizens soliciting U.S. citizens, asking them to accept the funds and pay them a percentage. Unfortunately, once the bank catches on, the money will be requested back, though the percentage given to the scammer is not recoverable. 

Lotteries


There is no such thing as a free lunch. But for many unsuspecting seniors, it may seem as though they simply got lucky. Elders may receive an email stating that they were chosen at random to win a lump sum of money, but are asked for their personal information as well as a processing fee, which provides ample opportunity to steal both their money and their identity. 

Phishing


One of the most difficult scams to identify is called phishing. Phising is when forged electronic documents, emails, or websites appear to be from well-established and trusted companies. When the documents, bills, and websites look just like the real thing, it’s tough to know it’s not. 

It is important never to share personal information over the phone unless you are 100% certain that it is legitimate and to warn our elderly of the risks of online abuse, so that they can protect themselves.

Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning, Inc. Can Help Those in CA Dealing with Issues of Elder Law


If you or a loved one is dealing with an issue of elder law, such as online elder abuse, it can have a long-lasting, detrimental impact on the emotional and financial wellbeing of the elderly. At Horizon Elderly Law & Estate Planning, Inc. we care about our seniors and will work to get them what they deserve. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, visit us online or call us at 925-275-5509 today!

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