Tips on Protecting the Elderly from Fraud During COVID-19

by Laura Vogler

As an Elder Law attorney, these uncertain times have become increasingly worrisome to myself and my clients. Most of my clients are at-risk community members as they are over the age of 60, many have underlying health concerns and/or are residing in a long-term care or assisted living facility. COVID-19 has had a major impact on not only my clients’ daily lives and those of their caretakers, but all at-risk community members. 

In addition to the dangers of the virus itself, COVID-19 has presented the elderly with another potential risk: fraud. With that in mind, I want to share a couple concerns we have been experiencing in our practice and helpful tips to combat them.

Increased Scams or Fraud Via Telephone

It's important that our at-risk community members and their caretakers know that the following entities will not contact you directly by phone and request personal information:

  • Social Security Administration
  • IRS
  • Indiana Department of Revenue
  • Credit Card companies
  • Banks
  • Veterans Affairs
  • Medicaid/Medicare

Instead, these entities will correspond via mail. If mail is received and something doesn’t seem “right,” and payments or personal information is requested, I suggest first calling the agency to determine if it's a legitimate request.

 

Scams and Fraud Tied to Charitable Giving

Unfortunately, when there's a crisis, there are people who try to take advantage of others through fraudulent charitable giving schemes. If you or a loved one are approached by a person to give to a cause in the name of the COVID-19 pandemic, I urge you to do your research on the charity. Be especially warry if the request comes via telephone and the person requests a credit card number or bank account/routing number.

Remember: it's important that phone numbers, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, bank account numbers or pass codes are not shared over the phone.

These are unprecedented times and our goal is to make sure our clients and all at-risk community members are protected. We hope this information can be helpful in doing so. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. I can be reached at 765.423.7900 or at laura.vogler@gutweinlaw.com.

 

COVID-19 Response Team

Karen Young                                                               Shannon Middleton Karen.Young@gutweinlaw.com                              Shannon.Middleton@gutweinlaw.com 317.777.7920                                                             765.423.7900