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Granny Scammers Utilizing Social Media to Prey on Seniors

 Posted on November 19, 2015 in Estate Planning

granny scammers, DuPage County Estate Planning AttorneyScammers who prey on senior citizens have been around for a very long time. Estimates indicate that each year, almost $3 billion are handed over to these con artists by unsuspecting seniors.

Some of the more common scams include Medicare fraud, counterfeit drug scams, telemarketing scams, sweepstakes scams, and investment fraud. Additionally, what all of these schemes have in common is tricking the elderly into handing over money—often substantial amounts.

There is a new ploy that has seen an alarming increase lately, referred to as the "Granny scam." These scammers use an elderly person's social media accounts to obtain personal information and use it to con the person out of money.

The person committing the con pours over social media sites, with Facebook being the most common. Important personal information is discovered on these accounts, such as family members names, nicknames, travel plans, place of employment, etc. Once a con artist is armed with that information, he or she will contact the elderly victim and, pretending to be the family member, claim to be in some sort of financial trouble and need money right away.

One of the most common ruses is pretending to be a family member who is traveling on vacation and has gotten into some kind of legal trouble with the police. The only way he or she can get out of the trouble is for the elderly person to send money.

Another ruse used is calling the victim, claiming that his or her loved one has been kidnapped, and informing him or her that ransom must be paid for the loved one's safe return. Often, the victim is instructed to wire the money, either via Western Union or MoneyGram. The victim is then left with no recourse once he or she discovers it was all a scam.

An awareness of the schemes intending to defraud seniors proves that it is critical to take the necessary steps to ensure that your assets are protected. Therefore, when it comes to estate planning, medical insurance, investments, and other financial issues, it is essential to make sure the people you are dealing with are legitimate and professional, before you commit to anything. A knowledgeable and reliable attorney can help. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your estate planning and execution, please contact a DuPage County estate planning attorney. Call 630-665-2500 today.


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