6. The grandparent scam is designed to tug at your heartstrings. How it works: You get a call that your grandchild is in trouble and needs money to be wired immediately. It could be a medical emergency or you might be told your grandchild is in jail.

7. Elder financial abuse. Our elder law and estate planning attorneys hear many stories of older people being victimized in this way. Those in cognitive decline who are socially isolated are prime victims. Often it is the very people we trust the most - family and caregivers - who do the ripping off. Fortunately, there are several legal steps you can take before incapacity strikes to protect yourself against financial victimization. These steps can include setting up a living trust with multiple successor trustees, a durable power of attorney and other related documents.   If you or your spouse are already experiencing cognitive decline (loss of memory, difficulty handling daily tasks, disorientation at times, etc.), you may want to resign off as trustee and authorize your successor trustee and agent under your power of attorney to act for you now.  Call our firm for advice on these matters.

8. Grant scam. How it Works: A caller tells you he/she represents some official-sounding but fictitious agency, such as the "Federal Grants Administration." You are told that the federal government has grant money waiting for you that can help you cover educational expenses, student loans, home repairs, etc. Or there may be an ad in a newspaper advertising the same thing. It's all "free" money that you don't need to pay back. You have to submit a fee of some sort to get it.

9. Romance scams are becoming increasingly common as more people, young and old alike, log on to online dating services to find companionship. How it works: The fraudster will try to cultivate an online "romance," often coming up with a variety of reasons to avoid meeting. Eventually, your love interest asks for money to travel to meet you, or asks for a loan to help with an emergency.

10. Home improvement scams tend to be particularly successful with seniors who live alone and/or are disabled. How it works: Someone shows up at your door and for a really good price offers to trim your trees, paint your house, install an alarm system because of robberies going on in your neighborhood, pressure clean your driveway, etc. The person does a substandard job or no job at all. It's very common in the wake of hurricanes. Be careful!

The official report contains more detailed information and tips on protecting yourself from fraud. You can view it and download it here.
Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.