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The fact that some people will deliberately target senior citizens in financial scams may seem shocking and unbelievable to you. Only those who are especially malicious and depraved would try to fraudulently separate elderly people from their money, you may think. Unfortunately, scams targeting the elderly are far from uncommon. Many scams that you may have already heard of prey upon senior citizens in California and elsewhere. 

According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, about one out of every 20 seniors will be financially victimized each year in the United States. Common schemes that can easily trick elderly people include the following: 

  • Phone calls claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service or a utility company, demanding immediate payment of a false debt with threats to arrest the recipient or turn off the utilities 
  • Emails, text messages or phone calls claiming to be from a family member or a kidnapper and demanding a ransom payment 
  • Fraudulent lottery or sweepstakes companies claiming the recipient has won, but requiring an upfront “processing fee” 
  • Popup computer messages claiming the computer has a virus and offering to “fix” the laptop for a fee 

Why are senior citizens vulnerable to such scams, you may wonder? Many older residents are unfamiliar with newer technology, or they simply trust those with a convincing story or offer. In other cases, age-related cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can affect a senior’s ability to recognize a suspicious claim. You may consider such legal options as seeking power of attorney or guardianship to protect your senior loved one from exploitation. This post is not meant to be substituted for legal advice.