Beware of Covid -19 Scams

| March 24, 2020 | 0 Comments | Email This Post Email This Post

By Andy Asher

Coronavirus is bringing with it scam artists targeting the most vulnerable in the country. Worse yet, these are older adults who are often more susceptible to the virus. The good news is friends and family can help make sure their loved one does not become a victim of these dishonest underhanded criminals

We spoke to Elder Law Attorney, Melissa Negrin-Wiener, a partner at Genser Cona Elder Law where she helps people get back their money and dignity.

Scam Hits Close To Home

Melissa had first-hand experience with a crook who tried to victimize her father. She tells her personal story of visiting her parents a few months ago and explains that her father who is Greek gets a call from a stranger. The caller mispronounces the name his grandkids call him and goes on to say he was in jail and needs money sent to him. She says her father thought, wait a minute, this person is not even calling me by the right name. From that story passes on the message to “stop for a second and think about what’s happening and hang up the phone.”

She tells about another time a female scam artist who convinced her female victim to hand over money. Her ploy was the money was going to the church she recently belonged to. But it turned out that the individual that was behind it wasn’t part of the church. Her family members discovered what was going on because they saw what was happening with the bank account. Melissa says, “Definitely urge the caregivers, the adult children, to keep an eye on what’s going on.”

Coronavirus Scams

Regarding Coronavirus Scams the Federal Trade Commission has a page on their website that goes into detail about it and how scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus and important lessons to stay out of trouble.

Scams, ripoffs and confidence games have stripped Americans of money going back to the 19th century and the same criminal minds are always looking for new ways to swindle people out of money. Why, because there is no shortage of supply of dishonest underhanded people and these confidence games still prey on people’s insecurities and tools on the internet make it easier to swindle unsuspecting victims.

My heart goes out to the victims of these schemes. They are fragile folks living under difficult circumstance who make ill-advised decisions. It is also a form of elder abuse as a high proportion of the victims are older people.

A Crime of The Ages

Melissa says the confidence game has not changed in over 200 years but the events and the tools to deceive people are different today. “Mostly what they’re playing on is fear and the isolation. We see things like romance scams. So these are online typically where somebody who is either widowed or divorced and they’re alone, either family working or maybe they don’t live near any family. They may develop these relationships online. And it starts as a relationship. They talk online and then it moves to the telephone. And then the next thing you know, the individual is asking for money. And once they send money they never hear again from their suitor.”

She says, “the most common one we hear about is the grandparent scam. When somebody gets a phone call and it’s hi, grandma or grandpa, this is so-and-so and I’m your grandson and I’m in jail or something happened and I’m in trouble and I need money.” What happens she explains, “it’s that initial panic kind of makes you not necessarily think logically, right?”

The criminal mind can be very clever and that is what’s happening today with Coronavirus. She adds, “ it’s very frightening how fast they take advantage of individuals. All of a sudden people are getting emails from the CDC that suggest they have something to help them avoid getting sick. I mean, it’s just like as soon as something happens.”

Steps to Prevention

The victims of these scams are often the parents of baby boomers. She advises adult children to think about the need for a power of attorney or whoever is taking care of a parent to make sure they have a power of attorney, and take a precautionary peek at the mail when visiting their home. Take a look at the bank statements. Just make sure you don’t see anything funny going on. That’s typically how these things get picked up, where a family member or loved one sees something out of the ordinary.

Melissa Negrin-Wiener, a partner at Genser Cona Elder Law where she helps people get back their money and dignity.

Andy Asher – Editor Bloomer Boomer is going on now 10 years and  the force for people over 55 and the catalyst behind his 2020 book release,  Bucket List: Boomers Second Chapter

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