January 9th, 2020
As individuals age, they often become more vulnerable to scams, which can end up costing them a great deal of money. As many senior citizens live on a fixed income, falling prey to just one scam can be financially devastating. One of the most common scams targeting older Americans is the so-called “grandparent” scam, variations of which continue to occur nationwide. In 2015 alone, the Federal Trade Commission received complaints of more than 10,000 grandparent or family scams, and that doesn’t even include the calls that people never reported.
A younger adult calls an older individual, pretending to be a grandchild or other close relative. The caller tells a detailed story, perhaps including references to other family members, which ends with a request to send a substantial sum of money as soon as possible. The story usually is some variation on the grandchild being arrested and needing bond money. Sometimes another adult even gets in on the scam, acting as the grandchild’s lawyer. Especially for a senior citizen with multiple grandchildren across the country, a plea for help may be plausible, or at least somewhat convincing. As a result, an older American may very well unwittingly wire or send money to help out his or her “grandchild,” and ultimately lose a large sum of money. These sad stories may mention the names of other family members, the city in which a family member lives, and other details that make the story even more believable. When taken by surprise, the target of the scam may unintentionally give the scammer names or other personal details that he or she otherwise wouldn’t have known.
Avoiding scams is only one way to protect your assets. At Legacy Law Center, we are Michigan estate planning lawyers who dedicate our practice to protecting your interests, as well as the interests of your family. Creating a comprehensive and effective estate plan is no small task, and we know that you will need guidance in navigating through this often complex process. Call our Ann Arbor office today to set up an appointment and learn how to best protect yourself and your family.