Fraud Law Resources for Oregon and Washington
Fraud on Seniors
Also known as "elder fraud", fraud on seniors is a separate category of fraud that takes advantage of fears, loss of capacity and mobility of senior citizens. A large number of (but certainly not all) seniors are more vulnerable due to age, particularly the widowed. Often the loss of a spouse who filled a particular role in the family can leave the surviving spouse vulnerable to those who act as though they genuinely care for the surviving senior.
Senior fraud usually starts when someone (even a family member) befriends the senior in order to gain control over money or property.
Fraud Prevention Tips for Seniors
1) THERE IS NO SANTA CLAUS. Examine closely any offer of something for nothing. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
2) Avoid telemarketers. They specialize in confusing you to take your money. If you are interested in the product, find another way (like the Internet) to research it.
3) NEVER GIVE YOUR CREDIT CARD NUMBER OVER THE PHONE unless you initiated the call.
4) PROTECT INFORMATION ABOUT YOURSELF. Be wary of giving any information about yourself to strangers.
5) ASK QUESTIONS. Do not let anyone intimidate you into not asking any question you may have. If you are a little bit confused, don't buy.
6) BE CAUTIOUS OF UNKNOWN COMPANIES. It can be dangerous to buy over the phone from unfamiliar companies.
7) COUNT TO TEN. Always take time when making a decision...give yourself 24 hours to think it over. Never give in to high-pressure sales tactics that urge you to "act now."
8) NEVER ALLOW YOUR CREDIT CARD TO BE USED FOR VERIFICATION. Fraudsters try to devises schemes to obtain your credit card information even when you do not purchase anything.
9) THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS. Ask for information in writing.
10) YOU DID NOT WIN THE LOTTERY. Do not return mail order solicitations.
11) GET ADVICE. Talk to a trusted friend, relative or financial advisor before committing your money.
12) KEEP AWAY FROM DOOR-TO-DOOR SALESPEOPLE. If door-to-door salespeople approach your home, do not let them in. If you let them in and they will not leave, call the police or leave.
13) PRACTICE SAYING "NO". You do not have to please everyone. Do not try to please a salesperson.
14) TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. Your first impression is often correct. Act on your instincts.