BOSTON (CBS) – Protecting mom from a scam may not be as easy you think.

According to an article in the AARP Bulletin, and I quote, “Folks over age 65 make up only an eighth of the U.S. population but as many as a third of all scam victims. There are three common explanations for this disproportionate vulnerability: memory loss, loneliness and a supposedly more trusting nature.”

The article went on to discuss the natural aging process that causes subtle shifts in mind and mind-set in people.

We discussed CRS earlier in the week and it truly does happen. The brain begins to shrink, information processing also slows down and some people do begin to have a problem with their reasoning ability and decision-making skills.

Now think about the scammer who knows this about the elderly. He tells her that this offer to pave the driveway at half price is good only for today while they are here in the neighborhood and they would like cash for they do not want the boss to know they are giving away the store!

So your normally very conservative mother hustles off to the bank to get cash to pay these guys to pave her driveway this afternoon. Or paint her house, or work on the roof. Whatever scam they are pushing. They rush seniors into making a decision.

Or she gets a phone call and is told she has just won the lottery, never mind that she never bought a ticket. But she must act now. They want her to wire money or give them her credit card number so they can process her winnings. You think she is too smart to fall for that? Nope, many elders will fall for this one.

Loneliness; many elders live alone. That makes them most vulnerable for there is no one around to discuss things with. And if someone is nice and befriends them, they of course want to trust them. Why would anyone want to cheat them they think.

Then there are the phone scams. A frantic call in the middle of the night wakes your mom up, there is much static on the line, and the voice begins to plead for help from Grandma and please, please don’t tell mom or dad. I need bail money the kid says. And Grandma wants to help so she wires the money. They got her!

So how do you protect mom? Talk to her about the various scams that are going around. Offer to help manage her finances so you know if someone is basically stealing money from her. Try to be involved in her life so if she does need a sounding board she would call you and discuss paving the driveway.


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