The Texas Credit Union League (TCUL) recently warned its members of a door-to-door scam targeting elderly individuals in the Corpus Christi and Houston areas.
The con artists reportedly claimed to be from the Area Agency on Aging (AAA), an agency under the umbrella of local Council of Governments (COG) that provides resources and services for elderly citizens.
The scammers convince the elder victim to allow them in the house to assist with their financial planning. Representatives from the AAA do not
typically solicit through door-to-door activities. Its clients are referred from other community and government agencies.
The TCUL offered this list of scams often target the elderly:
► "You've Already Won ... " Official-looking documents designed to trick recipients into thinking they've won money are worded to appear legal. However, they often hide in tiny italic type crucial information, such as the fact that it isn't really a prize announcement. Seniors who fall for this scam send a check (for a "processing fee") to a post office box. The victim loses anywhere from $5 to $50.
► Telemarketing scams. Seniors are also prime targets for unscrupulous telemarketers. Appreciating the opportunity to engage in conversation with friendly sounding strangers, many seniors are often duped into disclosing sensitive information like credit card and checking account numbers.
► Ready-made repairs. In this scam, "gardeners" or "handymen" offer to do "necessary" repair work on just about anything, from roofs to cracked driveways, to trimming shrubs or cutting half-broken limbs. The perpetrators may scare seniors into hiring them on the spot to avoid fines due to "city code violations." Often the scammer insists on payment upfront, and/or once finished with the "job," demands additional money. Some threaten that to call the police if the victim doesn't pay.
► Charity scams. Scammers will create a fake charity whose name rings familiar to a legitimate charity. Knowing that "causes" such as health and children's welfare appeal to seniors, the scammer solicits "donations" from unsuspecting victims.
Visit CPFCU's PlanIT for more tips on preventing senior financial scams.