While scammers target seniors throughout the year, these scams often reach a peak during the holiday season. Many seniors are at an especially high risk of exploitation during the holidays due to loneliness or a charitable nature. Here, a leading Vancouver elder care provider highlights some of the most common holiday scams targeting seniors this year and what you can do to help your loved one.
1. A Call for Help
This common scam takes advantage of seniors by creating a sense of urgency and causing them to panic. To perpetrate this scam, the scammer calls up the senior and, usually armed with the most basic information, convinces the senior that he or she is a grandchild in need of help. The scammer will make up an emergency and ask the senior to wire money. Sometimes scammers get basic information from seniors on Facebook, but unsuspecting seniors may unknowingly give the scammer the information they need to make the scam convincing by using the grandchild’s name.
Seniors should be suspicious of any unsolicited calls. Encourage your loved one to hang up and call the grandchild back on his or her cell phone to confirm their identity.
2. Check Overpayment
Another scam that comes up during the holidays is a con artist who offers to buy an item (usually something listed for sale on Craigslist or another classified site) with a cashier’s check written for more than the agreed upon amount. The scammer will then ask the senior to give the excess amount in cash before cashing the check. When the senior tries to cash the check, it’s fraudulent and the seller has lost the item and the money.
Your loved one should never accept checks from anyone he or she doesn’t know. Most seniors assume that cashier’s checks are as good as cash, and it’s not easy to tell the difference between a legitimate and a fake check. If your loved one does accept cashier’s checks, he or she should never accept a check for more than the agreed selling price.
3. Donate to Charity
Scammers realize that the holidays are the best time of year to take advantage of someone’s compassion. Charity scams come in many forms including scammers knocking on the front door or standing outside a door with a collection box. Seniors in particular are prone to falling for charity scams, especially those that involve someone knocking on the door with a charity catalog only to take the money and never return.
Advise your loved one to avoid giving money to a charity unless you know it’s genuine and have time to investigate it. If the charity turns out to be genuine, your loved one can donate directly to the charity rather than handing over money to a stranger.
Keeping your senior loved one safe extends beyond the bustling holiday season. To learn more about promoting his or her health, wellness, and safety, turn to Home Care Assistance. We’re a leading provider of live-in, hourly, and respite care Vancouver families trust. Give us a call at and speak with an experienced Case Manager today to learn more.