Is your dad too nice? Perhaps it's your grandmother or an aging neighbor that would go out of their way to help someone. Chances are you've never thought of their friendly demeanor as a hindrance to their safety, but a study by True Link Financial reveals otherwise.
The study surveyed 476 Americans who identified themselves as having "any responsibility for an older adult". The study also included a survey of more than 7,000 Americans about their perceptions of financial fraud and exploitation targeting seniors, an anonymized sample of 9,000 Visa card transactions from seniors over 65, and more than 200 interactions with merchants they believed were engaged in abusive, fraudulent, and exploitive behavior.
The True Link Financial survey found a significant correlation between how friendly a person was over the course of their life, and the amount of money lost. They termed this finding "friendly grandma syndrome." In fact, a senior described as "extremely friendly" over the course of their life is likely to encounter four times the financial losses as someone less friendly.
How many times have you told your mom to just hang up on telemarketers? If she is in the "extremely friendly" category, she may find it impolite to hang up until the telemarketer is done with the spiel. Unfortunately, some telemarketers are unscrupulous and know how to create confusion and get a senior to buy more or agree to services they don't need.
According to the research, telemarketers aren't the only ones taking advantage of the kindness of seniors. Home repair scammers know that a few nice words, bogus references, and the promise of a good deal they can only get today could lead to thousands of dollars in unneeded or outrageously overpriced repairs. Dishonest charities and fundraising organizations also know that a friendly senior with cognitive issues is a possible windfall.
If your mom is "extremely friendly" or you care for any aging adults, you can learn more about senior fraud and how to protect them at www.ProtectSeniorsFromFraud.com.
One other thing that although maybe not classified, but serious nevertheless. My father, caregiver for Mom who has Dementia, was being bombarded by mail solicitations. Feeling helpless with my Moms situation, he felt he could help these "poor" people that are mailing him for money. He gave away thousands of dollars to these people. He now himself has dementia, and that is how I found out this information. I cannot get these people to stop hounding him thru the mail. I did cancel his phone, so the phone solicitation has stopped. They also were automatically withdrawing from his bank account. So, a word of warning to those out there, no matter how much you want to let them keep there independence, you must check their finances. My Dad insisted on doing his own finances, even when I questioned him on things, he was adamant. The amount of money he gave away would have paid for a year of care for my Mom. Be diligent.