May is National Elder Law Month. During this month we focus on solutions for our seniors that will protect them now and in the future. As elder law attorneys, we focus on solutions that protect Older Americans from the very real dangers that can negatively impact their future.
While some of those concerns are evident, many are not. For example, while most Florida seniors know that they will need basic estate planning documents, they do not know that many of those estate planning solutions will not provide for their long-term care future. It is our job to educate seniors and their loved ones on the solutions they need to protect themselves, their assets and their family members.
These concerns, however are not only limited to elder law planning. “Older Americans”, who are defined as the generation of Americans sixty years of age and older, are also at risk of predators who specifically target this age group because they are deemed to be a more vulnerable population to exploit. We want to share with you several of the current scams Florida seniors and their loved ones need to be protected from right now.
1. The Jury Duty Scam. The jury duty scam is a fairly new scam that is on the rise in Florida. This type of fraudulent communication mostly occurs through the United States Postal Service and the senior is prompted to call a phone number about upcoming jury duty. Unfortunately, when the senior calls in to “report” for jury duty, he or she may be asked to give sensitive information which may then cause him or her to become a potential victim of identity theft. If you receive this type of mail, do not respond to it. Instead, contact your local courthouse and ask for information.
2. IRS Scams. In the IRS scam, the perpetrator will pretend to represent the IRS. There are a number of different crimes and scams that are occurring right now. The scammer may claim that you have to pay back taxes over the phone or a lien will be placed on your home immediately. We want you to know that the IRS will not call you at home. Do not trust this form of communication. If you receive this type of communication, write down the phone number to report it and do not give them access to your bank account at all. Instead, report this call to the IRS and, if you do have questions, speak with your accountant.
3. The Grandparent Scam. The grandparent scam relies heavily on emotional terrorism to be successful. The scammer will choose a caller who can sound young and immature on the phone. This type of scammer will call the senior at a time he or she will be most vulnerable such as late at night. Do not give in to this type of call and instead obtain the name and phone number of the “grandchild” and call your child immediately.
4.The Hurricane Insurance Scam. This scam is heavily prevalent in Florida. Similar to the hurricane contractor scam, the scammer is relying on the needs and fears of Florida seniors. He or she will offer 100% coverage for any future hurricane damage but never deliver on this promise. Although this type of insurance can be valuable, be sure the company is reputable before you make the investment.
We know that staying abreast of scams like these can be challenging. At times you may feel overwhelmed by all the potential scams to stay ahead of. Remember to use good common sense when evaluating communication from those you do not know and ask for help if you have questions. Do not hesitate to report individuals or companies who seem suspicious. As always, contact us with your questions so we can support you!