Summer is typically the season when most of us spend more time relaxing. One group that goes to work in the summer, however, is the scam artists who prey on older adults. As the mercury rises, so do the number of scams targeting seniors.
Keeping an older loved one safe requires educating them on the most common types of summer scams and taking a few preventative measures.
Scam artists and criminals see older adults as naive and gullible and believe they are an easy source for quick cash. They also think seniors are too embarrassed to admit they’ve been scammed, so they won’t report the crime to local authorities.
Here are a few of the most common summer scams seniors should be on the lookout for:
1) Home repairs and maintenance
These scams peak during summer months. Here is an example of how they typically work: Someone comes to the door offering home maintenance services for cheap prices. The catch is the contractor will only accept cash and often requires at least half of the payment upfront. The criminals usually claim to be working on a nearby neighbor’s home and say they have leftover supplies and that’s why the price is so good. Services they might pedal range from roofing and driveway sealing to gutter cleaning and exterior painting. Sometimes they start the work and then disappear, while other times they simply pocket the deposit and are never heard from again.
2) Fake fundraising
Some scammers use children to promote fake fundraisers for products that never arrive. The child knocks on the door claiming to be selling something to earn money for school tuition or a school project of some kind. Payment is required up front, but the product never arrives.
3) Door-to-door thieves
Summer thieves sometimes work in teams of two to distract a senior and rob their home. While one of the criminals distracts the older adult with a religious offering or request for directions at the front door, their partner sneaks into the home and robs them. They typically look for items that are easy to grab, such as a wallet, purse, small electronics, or jewelry.
What can you do to keep a senior safe from scams this summer?
We have a few ideas for you to consider.
Protecting Seniors From Crime and Scams
- Education: Monitor your local news to stay updated on new scams targeting seniors. Share the information with your family member so they are aware and on guard.
- Invest in a safe: Purchase a small safe and keep valuables locked inside it. Place the safe in a discrete location in the home as far from exterior doors as possible.
- Security camera: Install a wireless security doorbell or camera that allows the senior to see who is at their door before they open it. Encourage them not to open the door to strangers.
- Post reminders: If your loved one is a little forgetful and you are worried they won’t follow your advice about not opening the door to strangers, post a reminder note on the inside of their front door.
We hope these tips help you and your senior family member have a safe and enjoyable summer!