Despite state legislative efforts, elder fraud and financial exploitation continue to be a common crime and form of elder abuse in Connecticut, New York, and all over the country.
One recent U.S. Justice Department report notes that about 60% of elders will become a target of elder abuse by an attempted fraud; and about 15% of the seniors report being a victim of elder fraud. These numbers could likely be even higher because seniors are often reluctant to report incidents of elder fraud because they might feel embarrassed or ashamed.
In order to protect yourself from elder abuse and elder fraud scams, you should know more about some of the common schemes used so that you will be wiser if an attempt is made.
Common Schemes of Elder Fraud
One of the most common elder abuse schemes in Connecticut and New York is a telemarketing scheme whereby somebody calls up a potential victim and tries to sell them a phony product.
Here are some other types of elder fraud or other areas where seniors can be targeted:
- Health Care or Insurance Fraud
- Funeral and Cemetery Fraud
- Prescription Drug Fraud
- Anti-Aging Products
Telemarketing schemes involve cold sales calls offering to sell you fake products, or ones that are never delivered.
Some signs that may alert you to these kinds of scams are the following:
- Offers that are too good to be true;
- Offers that you won a free gift, prize, or vacation and that you “only need to pay shipping and handling”;
- Attempts to hide information about the company or deflecting questions about the company;
- Overly pushy salesmanship;
- Seller not willing to give you anything in writing
Health Care or Insurance Fraud
There are all kinds of health care scams Connecticut and New York senior residents should watch out for. Medical providers may try to sell you services you don’t need. Some elder abuse scams set up fake mobile “labs” at retirement homes or even in public places where fake clinicians pretend to test you for certain ailments.
You can protect yourself from elder abuse and elder fraud scams by doing the following:
- Don’t give blanket authorization to medical provider for billing purposes;
- Never seek medical services of any kind outside of a trusted doctor’s office;
- Never buy medical devices or equipment before speaking to a trusted physician who can recommended a place;
- Never give you Medicaid number to anyone over the phone
Prescription Drug Fraud
Online pharmacies can help you save in costs, however you should be cautious of purchasing prescription drugs online or over the phone. If you do use an online pharmacy, make sure it is a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site (VIPPS), which is a certification given by the Association of Boards of Pharmacy in the United States.
General Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Elder Fraud
- Put yourself on the Do Not Call List. You can do so either by calling (888) 382-1222 or go online at www.donotcall.gov
- Always consult with a family member or trusted friend before making a large purchase.
- Don’t ever give out your social security number, credit card number, or other personal identifying information over the phone unless you seek out someone’s services.
- Shred you mail with any sensitive information.
- Never sign any important or confusing documentation without talking to a trusted family member and speaking to a lawyer first.
Contact the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay if You Need an Elder Abuse, Estate Planning or Probate Lawyer in Connecticut or New York.
At the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay, our skilled and experienced attorneys routinely assist clients in probate matters, which range from regular estate administration to very complex probate litigation. We regularly litigate in the Probate and Superior Courts in Connecticut and in New York as well. We help clients plan their estates, drafting wills and trusts while helping with tax and Medicaid planning to protect the wealth hard working people earn over a lifetime.
With offices located in New York City, South Norwalk, and León Spain, we truly are a local firm with a global reach.
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If this or anything similar has happened to you, please call us at 203-666-5457. We are available to talk anytime.