A slew of reasons exist that make seniors vulnerable to financial scams. The elderly are often targets of dishonest schemes simply because they have generated wealth over the years. In addition, seniors sometimes have difficulty keeping up with advances in technology and may be unaware of the rapidly changing landscape of new scams.
The National Council on Aging recently compiled a list of the top 10 scams targeting seniors. Medicare and health insurance schemes remain one of the most common ways criminals seek to defraud seniors. These efforts include contacting seniors by phone, claiming to work with Medicare, and requesting personal financial information, or the perpetrators provide bogus services and then pocket the Medicare payments. Another scam originates from criminals reading obituaries and then contacting the spouse of the deceased and trying to collect on a fake debt. Seniors might also be victims of disreputable funeral companies that seek to add inflated charges to the funeral expenses. A number of investment schemes target seniors with dubious and complicated products that do more to enrich the company selling the product than the buyer of the product.
A good attorney versed in elder law has many legal tools that benefit seniors and their family members. One important legal tool according to the Money Smart for Adults Resource Guide is the Power of Attorney. One purpose of this document is give a trusted relative or agent the ability to make financial decisions and access financial accounts for the elderly person. A durable POA remains in effect even if the elderly person experiences diminished mental capacity. POAs differ and a trusted elder law attorney can customize a POA to meet the needs of the client.