Apr 15, 2016
By Rick Law, estate planning lawyer and senior advocate. Rick Law and his daughter Attorney Diana Law are part of the multi-generational firm of the Estate Planning Center at Law Elder Law in Aurora, IL.
Seniors are prime targets for criminals.
Criminals see seniors as easy marks for financial scams because seniors are easy to reach.
They can get seniors by the phone. Many seniors are lonely, so they’ll talk. Cherie Aschenbrenner, an elder-service officer with the Elgin (Illinois) Police Department, works with the elderly in her community to help them be more aware of financial exploitation.
Aschenbrenner notes that the elderly will almost always answer the phone, even if the caller ID says Kingston, Jamaica. In fact, when people are not on alert when the caller tells them they have won a foreign lottery, they have self-identified themselves as an easy victim.
Criminals can get seniors by the mail, too, because seniors tend to read every piece of mail front and back. They look forward to the mailman bringing them their mail. Studies have shown that seniors place unusually high validity in direct-mail solicitations. Additionally, seniors are usually home a lot and tend to answer the door. This means seniors are susceptible to financial exploitation scams over the phone, through the mail, and face-to-face.
Aschenbrenner also points out that many criminals and scam artists can spot a senior’s home just by looking at it. Houses that have an American flag flying, a Buick in the driveway, and well-tended flowers often are owned by senior citizens. Bad guys from all over the world can target seniors using online maps and street views because of these distinctive features on homes owned by seniors.
Now add the fact that the senior is suffering from dementia and there’s a lot of opportunity for criminals to financially exploit this group.
One of the most common tools being used by scammers today is the green dot MoneyPak. The green dot MoneyPak is at most big-box stores, and the card itself is perfectly legitimate. It is simply a card to put money on for use as a debit card of sorts. This card plays a large role in the grandma scam and lottery scams.
Too many families needlessly lose everything they have. Don’t let that be you. If you need help building a fortress around your estate to protect it from creditors, predators, and the cost of chronic disease, give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free. We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family. Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!
Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.
Rick has been named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney for the past 8 years in a row by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!
My wife and I had our first child three years ago. That’s when we decided to set up a trust, should anything happen to either of us. We reached out to Zach Hesselbaum to help us out. He was very thorough and professional throughout the whole process. Zach went above and beyond to make sure that we understood every detail of setting it up and he did an excellent job. We recently had our second child a few months ago. With the new baby, he helped us make the necessary revisions to the trust. Zach made this process great for us! I would definitely recommend using him for any of your estate planning needs!
Tom G., Naperville, IL