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How can I avoid scams targeting the elderly?

Unfortunately for many seniors in California, there are a number of scams and fraud targeting elderly individuals. Falling victim to a scam can lead to a number of financial issues, including depleting assets you’ve set aside for your loved ones after you’re gone. In order to avoid common scams, the National Council on Aging offers the following advice.

Be wary of telemarketing

While not all telemarketers are fraudulent, you should still take the right steps to verify their legitimacy. For instance, don’t agree to a sale until you’ve received written information on the terms. Also, when doing business over the phone make sure you receive the operator’s name, the business he or she works for, the business’s physical address, and phone number. If you feel pressured to make a decision immediately, take it as a red flag.  

Watch out for fraudulent contractors

Some home and building contractors will try to take advantage of older people in need of repairs. In this case, make sure you choose a contractor carefully to ensure his or her quality. Ask friends and family for their recommendations to ensure qualifications. Once you get to the contract or agreement stage, make sure you fully read through documents and understand the terms. Also, be sure to ask about what happens if you’re unsatisfied with work and whether guarantees are available.

Avoid health insurance fraud

The first step to avoiding health insurance fraud is to understand your policy and what it covers. If you don’t understand the terms, contact your insurer right away for clarification. You should also keep a listing of health care appointments and compare them to the services you’ve been charged for. Additionally, don’t provide information on insurance coverage to others unless they’ve provided you with medical treatment.

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