BOSTON (CBS) – According to AARP, folks over age 65 make up only an eighth of the U.S. population but are a third of all scam victims. There are three simple explanations for this: memory loss, loneliness and a more trusting nature.

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. He tells mom that his 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. No one ever shows up to do the work.

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? Not so; many elders will fall for this one.

Loneliness makes our elders 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.

Talk to mom about the various scams that are going around. Offer to help manage her finances. Try to be involved in her life so if she does need a sounding board she would call you and discuss paving the driveway.

One more thing:  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. They need bail money right away. Grandma wants to help so she wires the money. They got her!


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