National Senior Citizens Day honors our elderly population later this week on Aug. 21. What better way to honor them then by giving tips from your Better Business Bureau to help protect them from scam artists.
Millions of elderly Americans fall victim to consumer fraud. According to The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, fraud cost seniors about $3 billion per year.
Your BBB suggests these tips for protecting seniors:
• Don’t give out personal information, such as your bank account and Social Security number.
• Never allow strangers into your house. Avoid anyone using high-pressure tactics to get you to buy something or give up information.
• Be wary of someone who calls you claiming you won a prize, and then asks for payment. Prizes are free.
• Avoid a company or person asking for cash only. Offer to pay with a credit card because it allows you to dispute any charges.
• Never pay before a job or service is completed.
• Ask charities to send information in writing.
• Never sign anything until you fully understand it. Have another family member look it over for you and never sign a blank document.
In addition, there are many other ways you can help seniors avoid being scammed: For instance, check on them frequently, review their banks statements, screen and check references of caregivers and register their phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry at (888) 382-1222 or visit www.donotcall.gov. Watch for a full mailbox. Large numbers of mailings from promotion companies could indicate they are on a “sucker list.”
Remember, your BBB and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office are hosting the Senior Resource Fair & Panel Discussion on Sept. 12 from 2-4 p.m. at the Hithergreen Senior Center in Centerville. For more information on protecting an elderly loved one, visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.