AUSTIN, Texas – The holidays are a time of good feelings and generosity for many, but AARP warns that older Texans often are prime targets for fraud and abuse during the season. For many seniors, the holidays also can be times of loneliness and isolation, which can make them more vulnerable to scam artists.
Tim Morstad, associate director for AARP Texas, said older people are targeted more often because they often have more money.
“Older people have more income, they have more assets than younger people in general, and those assets really are a target for scammers,” he explained. “Some people who can’t manage their own finances are being taken advantage of by their caretakers.”
Morstad said there are many tactics used by scammers to prey on older people, such as pretending to be a family member such as a grandchild, or impersonating the IRS and demanding back taxes. He said seniors never should send money without verifying that the person or organization on the receiving end is legitimate.
Morstad said AARP, through its Fraud Watch Network, works to help seniors and those who care for them, keep the season of giving from becoming a time of exploitation by the unscrupulous. He said the Fraud Watch Network sponsors seminars, providing tips on how to identify and avoid scams and what to do if someone is being victimized.
“We get out information about the current scams that are going on in the community,” he said. “You can report a scam. We have presentations that AARP members give across Texas to help their peers to spot and avoid these potential traps.”
He adds that AARP Texas is working with lawmakers to strengthen protections for victims of elder financial abuse. Information is available online at AARP.org.