Elderly scams in Maine are unfortunately becoming increasingly common. Untruthful people often choose to prey on senior citizens due to their kindness, generosity, and occasional naivety on things like technology and current real estate practices. This makes them perfect targets for fraud.
To protect your family, it’s important to educate yourself on the types of scams currently underway so you don’t become the next victim.
One of the top elderly scams in Maine is for a criminal to obtain the number of your parent or grandparent and call to urgently inform them that either their credit card has been compromised, or that there was a problem with their tax returns. They will then demand that the victim hand over financially sensitive information, like credit card or bank account numbers so they can “fix” the situation, i.e. drain all available funds.
It’s important that all of Maine’s senior citizens be aware that the IRS will never call you unless requested and legitimate credit card companies don’t “demand” information. Tell you parent or grandparent that if they are ever unsure, to hang up and call the number on their bank’s website or business card.
Often, elderly scams in Maine are run by people who know that seniors tend to have a nest egg they might like to invest for their retirement, or to better the lives of their children and grandchildren. They take advantage of this eagerness and lack of knowledge about current trends of real estate to extort money.
For example, there are seminars targeting seniors with the promises of substantial returns, but the real motive is just to sell expensive course material. You should also keep your eyes open for “investment coaches” who don’t put claims in writing and pressure you to “act now.”
There have also been cases in which elderly property owners sell their homes to someone who needs “financing” by allowing the buyer to make “interest only” payments, while intending to pay the principal at a later date, all the while obtaining their own mortgage on the property.
This type of fraud is often perpetuated by someone close to the senior, like a wayward sibling or greedy caregiver or friend. It usually involves homeowners in a diminished capacity signing over the title of their home without truly understanding what they are doing, that is, if a trusted person told them to sign a document, they will do so without reading it. For example, your parents or grandparents are told they are signing documents to help the person care for them, when they are really signing a deed.
Signing away a title can cause seniors to lose equity in their homes or even leave them homeless without any legal protection. While lawsuits might be able to stop a foreclosure or prevent an eviction, often it is too late.
To prevent this, consider setting up an easy-to-remember safety net for your parents or grandparents, like all siblings must be present before a document is signed, or consistently reminding them not to accept documents from non-blood relatives.
Looking for a trustworthy Realtor to assist your parents or grandparents? Contact us today!