Waxahachie, TX (Law Firm Newswire) June 25, 2013 — Seniors in Texas are at high risk from Internet scams and financial elder abuse.
According to the FBI’s 2012 Internet Crime Report, Texas ranked third in the nation in the number of complaints received about Internet fraud. This type of scam is just one way that thieves can take advantage of seniors. Older people are also at risk for in-person and telephone scams and for theft and fraud by caregivers and other service providers.
“It is very important to be aware of the various ways that financial elder abuse can be carried out,” said John Hale, a Dallas elder law attorney. “Older people can be particularly vulnerable to financial scams.”
Seniors are often targeted by scammers. Some older people experience cognitive problems due to Alzheimer’s or other dementias that make them vulnerable to fraud. Although Internet use is rising among seniors, many are unfamiliar with the technology, which may allow a foothold for those seeking to defraud.
The FBI report detailed several examples of the most common types of Internet fraud, some of which are variations of scams that have been used against seniors for years. One common type is a notification of a fake lottery win, but in order to claim the prize the victim must submit personal information such as a Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card information.
In another type of scam, an older person may be contacted by someone pretending to be a younger family member in some type of financial or legal crisis. Internet users also frequently fall victim to “scareware” fraud, in which a message pops up on a user’s screen claiming that the computer is infected by a virus that can only be fixed by purchasing particular software.
The FBI maintains an Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov where victims can report Internet crime. In 2012, the FBI received nearly 290,000 such complaints, amounting to a dollar loss of nearly $525.5 million. The FBI warns that Internet users should never give personal or financial information to an untrusted source and should report any suspected fraud.
John Hale is a Dallas elder law attorney and Dallas estate planning lawyer with The Hale Law Firm. To learn more visit http://www.thehalelawfirm.com.
The Hale Law Firm
100 Executive Court, Suite 3
Waxahachie, TX 75165
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