Older adults are often the target of door-to-door scams that heat up as the temperature rises. Seniors are the targets of these cons because they are believed to be more naïve, as well as too polite to close the door when a pushy or smooth talking salesperson shows up on their front porch. And, once scammed, criminals know seniors are often too embarrassed to report they fell for one of these crimes.
What can families of an aging loved one who lives alone do to keep them safe from senior scams this summer?
5 Most Common Types of Senior Scams
Reviewing this list of door-to-door scams with the older adults you love is the best way to keep them from becoming a victim.
1. Magazine Sales. This one is tough because it isn’t always a pushy magazine salesman your senior loved one needs to be wary of in the summer months. Some of these senior citizen scams use junior and senior high kids to sell the magazines. They may pay the young adults by the hour or by the number of subscriptions they sell. The kids probably don’t even realize the magazines will never arrive and that they are part of a scam.
2. Energy Related Scams. Variations of these types of senior scams are on the rise. Thieves target homes with the promise of conducting complimentary “energy audits” or a cheaper alternative to their current energy provider. What it really turns out to be is an opportunity for them to get inside the home to rob older adults or come back later when the senior isn’t home to steal their valuables. It can also be a trick to get the senior to give up personal information they use to apply for credit cards, car loans, and more.
3. Household Maintenance. While these senior cams have been around for decades, seniors still fall victim to them every summer. Teams of “home repair experts” target neighborhoods where the percentage of seniors is known to be high. They offer to repair or replace a roof, seal the driveway, clean the gutters and more at prices that are too good to be true. Once they obtain the “deposit” they never return to complete the service or they start the project and never complete it. Remind your older loved one that you will help screen anyone they are thinking of hiring for home repairs.
4. Political surveyors. This generation of senior citizens are the more likely to vote in political elections than any other. Their loyalty to their country makes them more willing to invite what they think is a political surveyor in to their home. As with the home energy audits, it gives thieves an opportunity to rob them at that time or to come back later.
5. Home security systems. Because older adults often feel like they are more vulnerable to crimes, this scam remains a popular one. Scammers posing as home security salespeople knock on their door. They explain to the senior that they are in the neighborhood offering new subscribers a free alarm system with a pre-paid monitoring subscription. Once the older adult agrees to the “deal” and turns over their money they never hear from the “company” again.
We hope learning more about these senior scams can help you educate your aging loved one and keep them from becoming a victim this summer!