Telemarketing scams will ensnare anyone who doesn’t watch out for himself, but they go after the elderly far more often than other groups. Many scams involve bogus prize offers, phony travel packages, get-rich-quick investments and fake charities. These people have well-rehearsed
pitches and sound like they are offering legitimate opportunities.

As people who work with a high number of older Americans, senior advisors should know the
signs of a scam and make sure their clients do, too.

The Consumer Response Center of the Federal Trade Commission, through its Aging Parents and Adult Children Together program has this short list of fraud buzz words to be on the lookout for:

  • You must act “now” or the offer will expire.
  • You’ve won a “free” gift, vacation or prize – but you must pay for “postage and handling” or
    some other charge.
  • You must send money, give a credit card or bank account number or have your check picked up by courier – before you’ve had a chance to consider the offer carefully.
  • It’s not necessary to check out the company with anyone – including your family, lawyer,
    accountant, local Better Business Bureau or consumer protection agency.
  • You can’t afford to miss this “high-profit, no-risk” offer.

Remind your clients that hanging up may be the best course of action, especially if the person on the other end of the line is overly persistent.