What do you know about charity fraud?

Do you know charity scams often target seniors for donations at this time of year?
Senior citizens are prime targets for corrupt organizations bent on taking advantage of their generosity during holiday seasons. Some holidays celebrate showing gratitude (Thanksgiving) or giving gifts to others, (Christmas).

Why are seniors targeted?
Con artists know Seniors are the low hanging fruit upon whom to foist their scams. Many of these requests for charity come in the form of phone calls, or personalized emails, often with a link to a heartbreaking video of children, animals, or refugees in distress. The kind-hearted senior instinctively want to help. Charity fraudsters are counting on this.

charity fraud on seniors

Seniors can be very vulnerable to telephone scams. Seniors often still use land lines and usually have their phone number and address, listed in the white pages. They are often home alone all day and have no one talk to. A pleasant phone call from someone who addresses them by name can appear to be a friend. The elderly make twice as many purchases over the phone than the national average.  Con artists know this, so they are prime targets for scammers. Seniors often don’t know how to evaluate whether the organization soliciting funds is legitimate. The elderly with dementia or memory problems are especially vulnerable.

Seniors are often unfamiliar with technology such as emails and linked youtube videos. When they get an email, they think it must be legitimate as it came right into their inbox.

What can I do to help my senior to prevent them contributing to a con-artist?
If you suspect an elderly loved one is being solicited by shady operators, you can do some things to protect them. First, remember to be tactful and considerate. Tell them you’ve read an article or seen a television show on the subject and learned things that you had no idea were going on.

Are there any resources can I use to check out a charity?
Show them how to do some homework before they make a contribution. Resources are available to check out charities and rate their effectiveness.
Some of these resources are:
Better Business Bureau’s a directory of national charities rated on several factors.
Charity Navigator offers a one to four, star rating system on the charity’s performance.
Charity Watch provides a list of highly rated charities.

Helen Trowsdale, President of AA Care Services, is a nurse administrator with over 30 years of experience as a BSN, psychiatric nurse, and geriatric care manager with adults as well as pediatrics in hospitals, private duty home health care agencies, and residential home health care. Her team of caregivers are dedicated to serving their clients with home care in San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Austin; providing clients with consistent, quality care while minimizing the number of caregivers in the home. Learn more about AA Care Services.

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