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The Facts About Seniors and Fraud

April 8th, 2016 by judytalks

Moving forward following a loss means building a new life. Who you are now may be very different from the person who lost a loved one. The changes taking place prompt learning as a survivor begins to thrive.

Understanding the place and purpose of money is often difficult for older women. This may lead to mistakes in managing your money. The last blog post told the true story of an unsuspecting lady who lost a large sum of money. My research regarding scams and fraud turned up useful information for identifying these crimes.

The following is an article for you to read and save.

The Facts About Seniors And Fraud

Scamming is a billion dollar international business. It targets anyone with a telephone or mailing address. Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable.

There are no solid statistics regarding the number of seniors who are victims of fraud, because many never report it. It’s estimated, however, that one in 20 persons over 65 have been victimized, while only one in 44 ever report it.

Scams are often perpetrated by a phone call or letter. Both appear legitimate. Impressive letterheads and references to titles and offices imply authority. However, there are telltale signs that it’s not for real. Sentence structure is often awkward, with numerous grammatical and spelling errors.

According to the FBI, older citizens are easy to scam because they are too polite and trusting. Con artists easily exploit these traits, drawing people into well-rehearsed pitches, and then steal their nest eggs. Because of their reluctance to hang up or authenticate the letter, the money is gone.

The reasons senior citizens rarely report fraud:

  • Don’t know where or how to report it
  • Concerned that relatives will think them mentally incompetent
  • Too embarrassed to admit it

What can be done? Early detection results in stopping fraud in its tracks. There are two levels of detection and prevention in the US:

  • Federal programs inform and educate.
  • Community programs train employees to spot suspicious activities.

Banks train employees to be on the alert for irregularities when doing business with customers. A suspicious signature, a withdrawal for an unusually high amount, or a transaction that doesn’t fit the profile for this customer may elicit a conversation for clarification. It may save someone from financial disaster.

Communication and money transfer companies, such as Western Union, now train employees to recognize potential fraud. Partnering with law enforcement and individual detection experts can greatly increase awareness of identity theft and other forms of fraud.

Family members need to be aware that their loved ones are aggressively targeted. Thousands of products and services being sold seem legitimate. Many have specific appeal to seniors. Health aids, financial insights, cognitive and memory games and anti-aging products are especially popular, and it’s difficult to spot the scams.

When elderly citizens do report, they usually make poor witnesses because

  • Memory may be impaired.
  • It may be difficult to admit they have been swindled.
  • Weeks or months may have passed before reporting.

A government website that has information on all aspects of fraud, scams and identity theft:

https://fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/seniors.

Careful reading will help you to become familiar with all the kinds of fraud and how to spot them. Shop wisely, safeguard your nest egg, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

A Google search turned up a long list of websites for “how to identify and prevent scams.”  These are from a variety of sources.

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0060-10-ways-avoid-fraud

http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/10-ways-to-avoid-online-scams

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-identify-and-avoid-the-most-common-telephone-sca-1692068970

http://www.rd.com/advice/saving-money/7-online-scams-and-how-to-avoid-them/

http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/credit-debit-card-fraud.html

Billions of dollars are stolen every year from people of all ages. Senior Citizens are a prime target.

Don’t take chances with your nest egg. And if you think you’ve been scammed, call the police.

Where Has All The Comfort Gone?

March 20th, 2015 by judytalks

Time has passed. The Holidays are over, and everyone else’s life seems to go on with all the daily and ordinary things they do. Yours seems to stand still. People you talk to just assume that you feel better, that you are nearly “over it” and your brand new life lies ahead, clear and straight.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Is there a disconnect somewhere?

The answer is yes. The disconnect occurs because comfort comes in rushes at first, everyone wanting to help and console you. The sadness and shock of losing this most necessary person has you in its grip.  You still can’t imagine how life can go on.

Staying connected is difficult during bereavement. Family members are at different stages of mourning. Friends are busy with lives that haven’t been as disrupted as yours. Everyone wants you to feel comforted, but knowing what that takes, long-term- is far from their minds. Ours is a society that moves on.

It is up to you to maintain those close relationships. Stay in touch by phone, email, or in person. When someone invites you to an outing, meeting, or social gathering, go. Whether you feel like it or not isn’t the issue. Being with caring and relaxed people is the beginning of learning to live alone.

Comfort has all kinds of faces and isn’t well-defined. Just getting out there helps you to take a look at the world again and see possibilities. Old friends may bring new friends. New groups, hobbies, or interests develop while you’re testing the waters, surrounded by people you can trust. They are there to support you. Let them.

I wish you well,

Judy

 

Prioritize You

March 18th, 2013 by judytalks

The dinner hour and evening seem to be the most difficult times of the day for people who live alone. Your errands have been run, the work day is done, and its getting dark outside. Eating alone seems depressing and deciding what to do afterwards becomes a chore, or aggravation.

How to ease that transition time from late afternoon to dinner takes some planning. People who have (almost) mastered this start with a list on Sunday evening that takes them through the week. Connecting with people doesn’t all have to be done during the day or the weekend. If you’re working, consider having a few business meetings around dinnertime or shortly after. Others may appreciate the opportunity to also make that transition. Classes, groups, and activites are often scheduled in the evening. Sign up for a couple, even if it’s not your favorite thing. Libraries, community centers, and small colleges offer a wide range of interesting events you might enjoy. Take a class, learn a skill, or join a bookclub.

For those evenings you will be alone, make something special for yourself. Try new recipes, invent one, or dig out a family recipe and have a go at it. Make a dessert. Mealtime should be a relaxing and pleasurable time of the day. When that twinge of loneliness sets in, call someone, post a blog, or write in your journal.

Prioritizing yourself seems to be a lost art, especially when you are sad and missing someone. We’re usually good friends to everyone else, so be a good friend to yourself. Paying attention to emotional needs is part of the healing process. Learning to like living alone is a good prerequisite to living with someone else. It means you value good company.

The person you lost had you on the top of their priority list. You still deserve to be there.

Take care,
Judy

Learning to Like Your Own Company

February 26th, 2013 by judytalks

Learning to like living alone usually involves learning to like your own company. It’s funny how we think of ourselves as independent, yet prioritize being with groups and having relationships.

Certainly we need both. But being completely comfortable with just yourself seems hard to manage. The tendency is to feel that something is missing. However, being alone and being lonely aren’t the same thing.

Take a minute to ponder about the things you really like to do just by yourself. A quiet environment, no interruptions, and the opportunity to focus on some self-indulgence. Whether it be pampering yourself, working at a creative craft, or just reading a good book, you have no one to answer to, no one to cater to, just simple time alone.

How we regard the presence of others in our lives impacts even decisions we make. Often, a final choice rests on how it will affect others. This is certainly important, but how the choice will affect you should be paramount.

Critical events cast us into the role of “aloneness”, usually with little preparation for the feeling of loss, let alone managing liking our own company. However, the survivors I’ve known have done marvelously well with time alone, strengthened by regularly scheduled meetings with those groups and individuals who share interests and affection for one another.

Ask yourself what others like about you. Make a short list of things you never get to, because they require blocks of time and concentration. Then start to like your own company.

Let me know how it goes,

Judy

Living Alone and Liking It

February 18th, 2013 by judytalks

Learning to live without an irreplaceable person is a battle with yourself. The impossible has happened and whether you actually live alone or not, you are struggling to exist without your loved one.

In the early years following the death of my husband, three of our four children still lived at home. I was mourning the loss of the one person I depended on for my life’s breath, not because I was incapable of caring for our family, but because together we had learned to function as one whole being. By the time I was completely alone, I could more than survive; I began to thrive.

Grief and loss don’t end with bereavement. Moving forward is a decision, one that includes memories of that person still present in your life. But you begin to create a life for yourself that is to your liking, one that affirms your ability to be as comfortable and efficient alone as you were as part of a team.

Over the years, I have listened to many people describe the painful jouney of their own loss, and how they re-designed their lives. These stories are a testimony, not only to strength and courage, but to the resilience and innovation of self-worth. I’ll relate some of these life journeys over the next few weeks, no names, but fleshed out characters and personalities that have weathered the storms of life. If you have a story you’d like to share, please email me.

I wish you well,
Judy

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