Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Written by: Mark and Carol Fairall
Mark Fairall – Copyright

This World Elder Abuse Awareness Week - June 15th through June 21st

World Elder Abuse Awareness Week is June 15th – 21st and this is its 11th year in existence. The United Nations established this awareness day to promote the better understanding of the abuse and defrauding of the elderly. It is estimated that 10% of elderly Americans (nearly six million) are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation every year. Sadly, less than four percent of these crimes are ever reported.

Senior financial losses are estimated by TrueLink Financial in 2015 to be $36.48 billion every year. It is estimated that seven percent of the elderly experience money losses due to scams with average financial loss of $52,300.  An elder abuse victim is three times more likely to die than non-abused seniors. One senior is abused every five seconds in America.

Please help and better protect the Rights and Safety of the Elderly. They have earned the right to live in dignity without any fears.

We are exposing the top 10 biggest and newest scams of the elderly, which are:

10. GOLD BUYING AND SELLING SCAMS: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reporting significant
losses to the discount gold broker. Seniors are influenced by gold advertising as a safe haven to the declining dollar and rising inflation. Often the seniors wire the funds to the precious metals sellers and never receive their gold or silver. Their FTC reported losses range from $1,000 to $300,000.

Never buy gold or silver from TV or newspaper advertisers. Only buy precious metals from people you know and/or from coin stores that have a physical location. Always use a credit card to buy precious metals not cash.
The “Cash for Gold” is usually a ripoff that uses mail in services and/or free standing vendors. They pay about 10% of the real value of the gold and silver. Get several bids on your gold and silver at reputable coin shops and jewelry stores before selling your precious metals. Remember buying precious metals is very speculative so be cautious because its value can go down too.

9. DOOR-TO-DOOR CONTRACTORS: One of the largest areas of criminal activities against the elderly
are door-to-door contractor scams. They target elderly homeowners in middle income neighborhoods.
The sell: home repair work, driveway coatings, gutter cleaning, chimney cleaning, and yard services. Often they use cheap materials if they show up at all after you paid them. They use forceful scare tactics, fake references, and special deals. Never be intimidated, check out their contractor's license, and get a written contract of what they promise. Never pay cash for the entire job upfront. They often use threats of legal actions and lawsuits to collect more than you agreed too.
Never use door-to-door contractors but use only contractors that are referred from reputable source.

8. ONLINE DATING SCAMS: The most devastating elder scams is Online Dating because it steals your money and heart. Online dating is a $2 billion industry. The feds reported that in 2014 romance scams stole $86.7 million from 5,900 victims who reported their losses to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Nearly 75% of the complaints were filed by people 40-years old and older. Woman had 82% of the online dating losses.

NBC News reports that the primary goals of the online dating scammers are: to steal your money, to steal your personal information, and to possibly blackmail you. Dating sites can cost from $30 a month to $2,000 a month depending on the level of the wealth one is looking for in romance. It is costlier to try to find a millionaire on that online dating site.

AARP reports that seniors are the primary targets of romance scammers. The reasons are because they are more trusting and have more money. AARP states that it is possible to find love online but one has to more savvy. Watch for red flags of poor English, fake photos, and money requests. Sadly, many seniors do not report this scam because they are too embarrassed. The online heart stealing crooks keep on breaking wallets and hearts.

7. FREE MEALS INVESTMENT SEMINAR FRAUDS: The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has
issued an alert that there is no such thing as a "free meal" financial seminar. Their study of 100 free meal seminars found 50% had sales information that was exaggerated, misleading, and unwarranted. They also reported that 13% were outright frauds. These free meal seminars are DANGEROUS.

These free meal seminars target the elderly because they are not savvy investors who are impulsive and far too trusting. The seniors often hope for quick big profits and often invest too much for too long with the hopes of making a bigger financial killing.

It is important to verify who is paying for the free meal and their intent. It is important to do a FINRA Broker Check at (800) 280-9999 to verify if the presenter is licensed and legitimate.

6. IDENTITY THEFT AND INTERNET FRAUDS: The 2015 FTC report documented that reported Identity Theft increased nearly 50% (410,128 FTC complaints). The age group that had the most problems with this fraud at 44% were people between the ages of 40 to 60 years old (mid-life workers).

Most people (10.8%) did not know how the criminal got their identity theft information. The two other big areas of Identity theft information were from data breaches (3%) and internet/email (1.2%). Less than half of identity theft problems (180,753) were reported to the police. The police failed to take an identity theft report on 11% of the crimes.

It is estimated that 15 million Americans lose over $50 billion a year due to Identity Theft. It is reported that 19 people become an Identity Theft Victim every minute.

5. JUNK DEBT COLLECTION FRAUD: Debt Collection is big business. Debt collection can be for credit card debt, lending institution loan debt, personal debt, and rent debt. Collection companies buy junk debt for pennies
on the dollar and hammer the borrower. 

The recent 2015 FTC report found Arizona had 42,575 FTC fraud complaints in 2015. The number one problem reported to the FTC in Arizona for 2015 was fraud complaints was about Debt Collection with 10,211 complaints. Seniors 60-years old and older filed the most complaints at 37% of any other age group.

The junk debt industry is overwhelming the courts with lawsuits. The courts are being flooded by lawsuits that are not substantiated, have false information, and take advantage of the unrepresented poor. The elderly are losing their home to foreclosures at a record pace because they are not aware of the power of a junk debt collector lawsuit. Also, 90% of the elderly homeowners do not have a lawyer or even appear in court at the trial. So the junk debt lawsuit is won and the house is repossessed by Default Judgement.

4. CONTRACT FRAUDS: These are written agreements which are binding and are dangerous to elderly. Too often the elderly are too trusting and are unaware of the possible legal risks. Once a contract is signed it cannot
be changed unless all parties agree. Never be pressured to sign a contract and have it reviewed by an attorney. Too many seniors are being duped by crooked contracts that are written by the attorney of service or product provider.

Senior living contracts are very tricky and avoid anything that requires an arbitration. Arbitration waves your right to sue and any disputes has to resolved by a panel of people reviewing the case. It is important to have the clause that you can break your lease if you require more medical care than the senior living facility can provide. Many senior living facilities have a yearly contract which locks the price but it has the month-to-month option that allows the senior to move.

Never sign a contract with blank spaces, dating errors, cross outs, or without reading it. Cosigning loans is very dangerous because 38% of the cosigners end up having to pay the loan. Never sign for a free trial on a one-year contract because often it is impossible to cancel the contract and payments. Always get a second opinion and ask questions before signing contracts. Get all verbal promises written into the contract.

3. GUARDIANS AND CONSERVATORS FRAUD: Legally appointed guardians take control of the senior's life

, finances, and well-being. This is a legal cesspool of highly paid guardians and/or conservators that have the broad legal authority which is often misused to defraud the handicapped and/or disabled vulnerable adult. There is an estimated 1.5 million Guardians overseeing approximately $273 billion in assets. A recent survey of a federal agency reports that 855 judges report 64% have taken action against the misconduct of guardians. The problem will get worse as the baby boomers age.

Guardians are granted authority over their ward's medical care, living conditions, and finances. Too often the Guardian takes advantage of the senior while the legal system ignores the scam. There are over 10 million seniors that have their lives dictated by a court appointed Guardians. The Guardianship Industry is growing over 20% a year because it is very profitable and it very easy to misuse.

It is estimated that Guardianship losses for 2015 exceeded $36.5 billion.

2. COUNTERFEIT DRUGS AND MEDICAL MISTAKES: The phony drug suppliers target older Americans because 71% of hospital prescriptions are written to them. These medically worthless and toxic drugs are a $200 billion scam that represents 10% of all drugs sold. These cheap fake drugs are sold for less money and often on the internet. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with INTERPOL just completed this month Operation Pangaea IX. The feds shut down 4,402 websites selling illegal and dangerous drugs from 115 countries. AARP estimates that there are 36,000 "rogue" Internet pharmacies selling counterfeit drugs which contain heavy metals, rat poison, and even toxic highway paint.Besides the fake drugs the feds reported that the online internet sites posed other risks of credit card fraud, identity theft, and computer viruses. It is recommended to avoid "Canadian Drug Sales Companies”, small pharmacies often located in strip malls, and when the price is too low.

A new study by Johns Hopkins medical school has reported that the third-leading cause of deaths (250,000) in the USA is caused by medical errors. Many of the medicals errors happen in hospitals but Death Certificates do not have a place on it to report the medical error death. The World Health Organization stated the present system cannot track medical error deaths. Death Certificates need to have an extra field to report that decease died because of the care they received. The medical error death rate is getting worse from 98,000 reported in 1999 to 180,000 reported in 2010 to 250,000 reported in 2016. That is a shocking increase of nearly 10% a year of people that die due to medical errors.

It is reported by the Journal of American Medical Association that it is estimated that 14% of medical procedures are not needed.

1. MEDICARE FRAUDS: The number one area of scams of the elderly is Medicare Fraud. It is estimated that nearly $125 billion is lost every year due to Medicare Fraud and Over-payments.

Medicare covers the health care coverage of 69 million people at the cost of $529 billion a year. It is estimated that nearly 24% is fraud. The largest area of fraud is people who are not qualified receiving Medicare coverage. The next area is charging Medicare for service not provided. Lastly, Medicare fraud is providing payments to unqualified healthcare providers. 

Medicare is a "high-risk" federal program because of the lack of proper oversight.

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