Senior citizens face new challenges as age takes a toll on their knees, hips and minds. Unfortunately, elder abuse appears in different forms. Investment fraud of senior citizens has been a problem, and the shysters seem to increase with the number of retired baby boomers every year. Elderly people are most often cheated by strangers although friends and family are culprits as well. The stakes are high, for seniors lose billions of dollars every year to unscrupulous people. Fortunately, doctors, bankers, family members and honest financial planners are available to protect the elderly. Government and nonprofit agencies including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Investor Protection Trust also offer assistance. The dishonest schemes are diverse so senior citizens should learn about the most common ones to protect themselves.

Seniors need to be wary of phone calls and emails from strangers. The World Wide Web is a great tool for global trade and information, but it is available to dishonest people, too. Shysters from all over the world have access to the internet, and they can disguise their location and identity. Some of the schemes perpetrated on seniors include using washed cashier checks to pay for goods. The crooks sometimes make requests for emergency funds from vaguely familiar identities.

Seniors have also been cheated with get rich quick schemes featuring lottery or sweepstakes windfalls.  Shady callers usually phone early in the morning or late in the evening when elderly people are not fit and fresh. They pose as friends and present their schemes with enthusiasm and hope. Seniors often live alone and depend on caregivers for meals and housekeeping chores. All caregivers should be carefully screened, for some seek employment with seniors just to gain their trust in order to steal from them. Recommendations and references for household help should be carefully verified.

Fortunately, many seniors avoid swindles when they share information with their peers at bridge games, sporting activities or neighborhood gatherings. Information spreads quickly to warn others of the latest schemes. Unfortunately, dishonest people find new ways to cheat vulnerable people. Family and friends should be protective of elders and find ways to monitor their welfare without being intrusive. Investment fraud attorneys are available to investigate the latest swindles and provide information to protect consumers.

The criminals who prey on seniors speculate that the elderly citizens will be too embarrassed to admit their mistakes. However, seniors do have resources to help them avoid financial or physical calamity, and they should never be embarrassed to report problems or ask for assistance. Most seniors have good reason for frequent doctor visits. They should confide in members of the medical professions who realize that they need to look out for the total welfare of their patients. They cannot solve all of their problems, but they can provide information about the resources available to protect them from the devious. Banks and other financial institutions keep track of fraudulent schemes and warn their customers. Most of these organizations have safeguards in place to prevent fraud.