How to protect yourself and your loved ones from elder scams

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Elder LawI recently helped an elderly client recover from a scam like this, where the scammers got almost $30,000. Because my client reported it to police, and an investigation was done, I was able to get all of the fraudulent charges removed from my client’s account, which saved his credit rating and his financial future.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of a scam, do the following as soon as you discover the fraud:

  1. cut off all forms of communication with the scammer. Change any and all phone numbers, passwords, email addresses, log ins, etc… that the scammer gained access to.
  2. report the scam to all financial or business entities involved, i.e., your bank, credit card company, cell phone service provider, etc…
  3. report the scam to the police, and ask for an investigation. This is a crucial step. Without a police report, banks and credit cards companies will be unlikely to refund or remove the fraudulent charges…your loved one may end up paying for a very long time without this report.
  4. hire an Elder Law attorney to deal with the institutions involved in getting the fraudulent charges refunded or removed from your accounts. Your attorney can deal directly with the Legal Department of these organizations to clean up the mess and save your credit. An unrepresented person will have difficulty getting past the customer service underlings who have been trained to tell people that they will have to pay back the money themselves. My client was told numerous times that he owed the money, and there was nothing they could do about it, which was untrue and caused my client untold amounts of stress and despair.
  5. report the scam to your state’s Department that governs service to the Aging. In Georgia, that is the State of Georgia Division of Human Services, Department of Aging Services, 404-657-5250, 1-888-774-0152 FREE. Report the scam to the Federal Government via http://www.stopfraud.gov.

These scams are becoming an epidemic, especially in our most vulnerable elder and aging populations. There is no substitute for the services of a good attorney. It may cost you a couple of thousand dollars now, but will save you tens of thousands later.


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