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Phone scams aimed at taking advantage of the elderly

Older individuals want to maintain their autonomy for as long as they can. This is understandable; we all want to have the freedom to do things we want and spend our money as we see fit. But unfortunately, as we age, we may become too trusting and there are those who prey on that trust for personal gain.

If you are keeping a watchful eye on a parent or loved on to protect their financial interests, you may want to acquaint yourself with some of the most common scams that are aimed at older individuals. Many of these cons are carried out over the phone, and they include:

· Fake contests in which the victim is informed he or she has won a free cruise, but the victim loses money by paying taxes or up front "port fees" required to claim the tickets.

· Charity or donation scams in which victims are asked to contribute to a worthy cause, such as fighting cancer or helping veterans.

· Phony giveaways in which victims are led to believe that they are being given a free gift card thanks to a rewards program, but the cards actually come with costly activation or shipping fees.

It is quite possible that you have been on the receiving end of calls being conducted by unscrupulous con artists and you likely just hung up on the caller. But because of changes that occur in the brain as we age, older people become far more susceptible to the pitches of swindlers. For this reason, it may be a good idea to warn your loved one about the potential threats and explain how to screen calls using Caller ID.

And it could also be time to discuss your loved one's financial future with an experienced elder care attorney. There are a variety of steps you can take to help protect your loved one's assets, and the attorney can fill you in on the best measures for your circumstances.

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