Senior Home Care - Avoid Scams Targeted to the Elderly

senior home careWatch out for these 3 popular scams against the elderly

With the spring weather in full swing, there are some scams that are more prevalent this time of the year and the elderly can be the focus of these scams.  Many of the elderly are lonely and may welcome a visitor at the door or a phone call.  In addition, as you get older, your ability to make sound judgments may be impaired. As part of senior home care, here is a list of some of the scams to be on the watch out for per the Pennsylvania State Police.

1)      A contractor may come to the door offering to do some small home repair jobs like painting, paving the driveway, or repairing a gutter or roof.  They’ll indicate that they have leftover materials from another job down the street and so will offer a substantial discount.  However, once the repair is complete you’ll be presented with a bill in an amount far greater than the original quote and immediate payment expected.  The materials used are often subpar.

What are some precautions you can take?

  • Be cautious of any home repairman that comes to your door unsolicited.
  • Check how legitimate they are by contacting the Better Business Bureau or your municipality’s building officials.
  • Can the contractor show you that they are properly licensed, bonded and insured?

2)      Home invaders may come to your door posing as utility workers, whether from the water company, the power company or perhaps cable company.  They may indicate that they need to check or replace your water meter or something similar.  While you’re with the one worker in the basement or outside, the other suspect will be in your home stealing cash or jewelry.  How is a home invader different than a burglar?  A home invader enters the home with the intent of committing a crime, usually theft, and are fully prepared to face the resident whereas a burglar expects the house to be empty.

What are some precautions you can take?

  • Don’t allow strangers into your house.
  • Ask for photo identification or if you’re still suspicious, call the company to verify that the person at your door works for that company and is supposed to be at your house.  You need to look up the number of the company as the suspect may give you a number where his accomplice will be on the other line.

3)      I had never heard of this one but there’s something called the “sweetheart swindle.”  A young female will become friends with an elderly gentleman.  She may tell the story of having a business, maybe a sewing business, and she asks for funding from her older friend.  He happily gives her the money, leading to additional requests for money for medical procedures for a member of her family.  This can last for days, months or even years.

What are some precautions you can take?

  • Be suspicious of new friends that ask you for sums of money.
  • Tell a trusted friend or relative.

In all of these cases, don’t be ashamed if you were swindled.  It’s nothing to be embarrassed about and the best thing you can do is call the police and report the incident.  This will help in preventing future scamming of other elderly citizens and enhance senior home care.  For more info, contact your local state police barracks.