Seniors are easy targets for unscrupulous financial capers simply because they are perceived as having that bounty of a retirement money. With the way how retirement savings now become a high-profile issue by marketing and investment firms, scammers have a mindset that there is always some financial nest egg stashed somewhere.
Likewise, the difference in upbringing, where the elderly are more inclined to be open, accepting and trusting, especially to offers of “help,” “assistance” and “support” being pitched to them also account for many senior citizens falling for these money traps. It is therefore essential that family members should do the best they can to help protect their elderly fight the many forms and shapes of retirement money schemes lurking around.
Saving up for retirement is not an easy thing to do especially for those who have just enough to get by, what with 50 percent of working Americans falling below the median wage of $26,965. And the numbers are not getting any rosier, with median household income falling in February 2013 to $51,404 from the $55,438 six years ago.
It is no surprise then when the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) revealed in its June 2013 report a stark reality where seniors and retirement are concerned: most working households do not have a dependable retirement fund to speak of, with savings not even enough for two month’s cost of living.
In the report The Retirement Savings Crisis: Is it Worse Than We Think?, the median retirement balance is $3,000 for all working-age households, while near-retirement households have only $12,000. Also, two-thirds of American retirees aged 55 to 64 with one person working have savings that are less than one times their annual income. The NIRS emphasizes that such figures are far below what they will need to maintain a good standard of living upon retirement.
And while the US retirement fund shortfall for American families is staggering, there are still those who perpetuate the heinous financial crime of duping the elderly of their hard-earned retirement savings. There are many stories of investment scams, networking schemes and other “lucrative” money-making agenda targeted at retirees.
Investment scams targeted at unsuspecting seniors include supposed high-yielding insurance products, medical cards, time-shared properties, gold investments, vacation rental homes and risk-free bonds, among others. Often, these “investment” businesses present professional and even verifiable credentials, boasting of established affiliations with known companies and high-profile clientele.
While illegal marketing schemes bordering on pressure, harassment and coercion are used to force seniors to commit their money to these senior insurance and other investment products, there are also instances when these investments are totally non-existent. Those who have been victimized by these scams have seen their lifetime of savings and retirement benefits all wiped out.
Cowardly crooks preying on the nature of senior citizen’s frailty and increasing healthcare needs employ a number of medical-related frauds where either money is directly taken from the elderly or through their medical insurance.
These tactics include offering “free” or “test” products like medical equipment or services like laboratory and diagnostics to senior citizens, and then later billed through their credit cards or healthcare cards. Some syndicates even go as far as staging “demo” events in retirement homes and public places like malls. Forms are given to unsuspecting seniors to be filled out, where personal details including credit card numbers are asked of them.
Fraudulent telemarketing schemes are targeted at senior citizens living alone or without companion in a certain hour of the day (using information syndicates have gathered by data-mining or list buying). The caller offers them non-existing products and services using practiced marketing persuasion and selling tactics.
These products and services include anything from sports subscriptions, discount dining cards, cable or satellite TV subscriptions to hotel room accommodations.
Fraudulent products targeted at senior well-being, mostly without verified therapeutic and medical results also abound. These products range from anti-aging, memory strengthening, physical conditioning or organ revitalizing pills and anti-toxic and cancer defense products, among others.
Manufacturers and sellers of these fake products can get away with complaints by citing the (vague or highly technical) precautions on their packaging that some victims don’t even know exist, or cannot read because of their eyesight’s poor condition. During sales pitch, marketers deliberately do not discuss such “precautions” to their target victims.
Robocalls have been the subject of the Federal Trade Commission’s crackdown after volumes of complaints from consumers victimized by voice call blasts employed by some sly businesses.
Aside from selling unnecessary products using pesky recorded pitches, majority of these robocalls are from debt collection agencies who harass people into paying credit card debts or home mortgage loans. Once senior citizens take the calls, deceitful telemarketers harass these seniors into paying debts of even their children or relatives.
FinancesOnline is available for free for all business professionals interested in an efficient way to find top-notch SaaS solutions. We are able to keep our service free of charge thanks to cooperation with some of the vendors, who are willing to pay us for traffic and sales opportunities provided by our website. Please note, that FinancesOnline lists all vendors, we’re not limited only to the ones that pay us, and all software providers have an equal opportunity to get featured in our rankings and comparisons, win awards, gather user reviews, all in our effort to give you reliable advice that will enable you to make well-informed purchase decisions.