Guest Post by the Author
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Scammed: 3 Steps To Protect Your Elder Parents and Yourself by Art Maines
Publisher : Love Your Life Publishing, October 12, 2012
Tour Dates: January & February, 2013
Available in: Print and ebook, 210 pages
When author Art Maines' beloved stepfather Bill was cheated out of thousands of dollars, Art went on a mission to ensure no other family experiences this tragic crime.
In Scammed, Art provides a three step scam prevention and recovery program, based on his training as a social worker, therapist, and his extensive research. Suitable for seniors or children of elderly parents, Scammed will help you:
Understand the most common types of scams
Learn the psychological ploys used by scammers so that you can spot a scammer immediately
Create a scam prevention plan
Recover from a scam with your dignity intact
Use the resources in your community if you suspect a scam
Praise for Scammed:
"just finished reading this book. this would be a great resource for people finding themselves in the unenviable position of being scammed or finding that they have a parent who has been scammed. it is packed full of practical, clear advice on what steps to take when you don't know where to turn or how to get started on recovering from being scammed. this book also gives valuable direction on how to be proactive and to get started on protecting yourself or your parent from becoming a scam victim." Peggy I. Montgomery, Amazon.com Reviewer
"An excellent guide to helping your parent avoid predators."~ N. Kortner Nygard, Ph.D., Geriatric Psychologist
"A wealth of advice to help heal the emotional and physical aftermath of scams."~Jennifer L. Abel, Ph.D., author of Active Relaxation
"A simple breakdown of scams that target the elderly with a battle plan to protect and prevent" ~Detective Joe Roubicek, Author of Financial Abuse of the Elderly; A Detective's Case Files of Exploitation Crimes
"This is an important book for anyone with elderly parents.".~Gregory W. Lester, Ph.D.
Art Maines, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice, speaker, and expert in elderly fraud recovery and prevention. He earned his Master's Degree in social work from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. Art and his stepfather Bill live in St. Louis.
Visit Art Maines Website: http://www.elderlyfraudrecoveryhelp.com
Guest Post by the Author
Senior Scams: The Seamy Underside of Growing Older
Imagine you’re cruising along in life, dealing with the ordinary ups and downs. Nothing especially noteworthy is going on, just normal life. Then one day, out of the blue, you are forcefully shoved into a bizarre world which scares the hell out of you. Like most of us who have been there, you’ve unwillingly entered the world of scams and frauds. Disturbingly, it’s an all-too-common part of the seamy underside of growing older today.
When you find out that scam artists have preyed on your elderly parent or other loved one, there’s no way to avoid shock and disbelief: “How could this happen?” Then comes the fear—“How much did they get? Do they have access to everything? Is my parent going to be OK?” It’s normal for your mind to reel with the frightening possibilities, because they ARE frightening.
Senior citizens make up about 12 percent (and rising) of the US population, but are approximately 35 percent of all fraud victims. According to the National Consumers League, seniors represent 60 percent of those calling its National Fraud Information Center. Between 2002 and 2003, the 70 to 79 age group rose from 9 percent to 13 percent of all fraud victims, the steepest rise for any age group. The typical victim is female, frail, and mentally impaired. Seventy-five percent are between the ages of 70 and 89.
Vulnerabilities of Seniors to Frauds
Several factors make seniors more vulnerable to fraud:
· Seniors’ desire to help or be charitable opens the door to criminals who tug at their hearts with a phony sob story to rip them off.
· Their generation is typically more trusting of others, which opens opportunities for thieves to abuse that trust.
· Loneliness and social isolation makes a senior more willing to talk with a friendly stranger.
· Seniors are often home when con artists seek their victims.
· Some seniors have lost a degree of physical or mental sharpness, making them even more vulnerable. A few studies even point to changes in elderly peoples’ brains that may make them more vulnerable to getting scammed.
· Recent plunges in the stock market and home values have made many seniors much more fearful about their financial situation, opening them up to the all-too-human wish for a fast buck.
· Because people over 50 control 70 percent of the nation’s household net worth, they are ripe targets for scammers.
Red Lights on Your Dashboard for Possible Fraud
· Sudden changes in your parent’s bank accounts or banking behaviors, especially unexplained withdrawals of large sums of money
· Unexplained or unplanned changes in your parent’s investment accounts
· The appearance of magazines that don’t fit your parent’s usual interests
· A lot of what I call “useless crap” around your parent’s house. Sometimes questionable organizations send small trinkets like pens, calendars, etc. to create the illusion of providing value and keep people sending money.
· Unauthorized withdrawal of your parent’s funds via their ATM card—particularly repeated withdrawals over a short period of time
· Your parent tells you they won a sweepstakes, lottery, or prize.
· Services or home repairs that are not necessary, or which seem unusually expensive
· The sudden appearance of credit card balances, especially for cash advances, with no prior history of using credit.
· Your parent’s description of money being tight, or a sudden reluctance to spend money for reasonable expenses that were never an issue before
· Your parent seems evasive when you ask about money.
If You Suspect a Scam
Get as much information as you can, as quickly as you can. You have to figure out what happened in order to know how to stop the bleeding and lock down your parent’s assets to ensure no more money gets into the hands of scammers. Here’s how to start: Ask everyone you can everything you can, beginning with the two most important questions for your parent:
· “Has anyone threatened to hurt you or someone close to you if you don’t do what they demand?” (If so, notify law enforcement about this IMMEDIATELY if they aren’t already involved. Clearly this is a potential safety threat.)
· “Did you give the people you talked to any account numbers, passwords, your Social Security number, or any other unique or security-related information?” (If they have, it’s an even worse EMERGENCY and requires ACTION NOW; your mom or dad may also be a victim of identity theft..)
Here are a few more important questions to ask:
-How much money (approximately)?
-How often? Has this happened more than once?
-To whom was the money sent or given?
-Did you ever receive money and send it on to another person?
-Which account(s) are involved?
-How was the money accessed? By whom?
-Can you show me any receipts, phone records, or other papers pertaining to what’s happened?
Next, contact your local police department and an attorney.
The police will need all available evidence to write their report, and you’ll need that report to talk to financial institutions about settlements or other forms of relief that may be available.
You’ll have much more to do to help your loved one recover from a scam but this step will get you started in the right direction.
Art Maines, LCSW, is a therapist in private practice and an expert in Elderly Fraud Recovery and Prevention. His new book Scammed: 3 Steps to Protect Your Elder Parents and Yourself, gives in-depth information on scam prevention and recovery.
Purchase Scammed by clicking on the book icon below: