Scamming Seniors: “Free Lunch” Seminars Used for Financial Abuse

senior lunch 2.jpgThousands of elders become victims of financial abuse each year. Studies have sought to determine why so many elders fall prey to financial scams, and by and large, it is the vulnerability of elders that puts them at greatest risk for being victimized. Whether that abuse is initiated via phone scams, where thieves claim to be from the IRS, or via people who are trying to scam elders via a trust mill, there are a lot of people seeking to take advantage of elders in California.

Senior seminars, which advertise a free lunch, are yet another common scam used for financial predators to target potential victims. The scam works like this:

*There is a “Senior Seminar” advertised/offered which provides a free lunch.

*Questionnaires are distributed so that the predators can identify the most vulnerable victims.

*The purpose of the seminar is to identify victims and gather financial information, for the next “step” in the seminar, which is generally a sales presentation.

*Sometimes the scam ends once the predator collects information to hone in on liquid assets, such as checking accounts, IRAs, or mutual funds.

*In other cases, criminals use the financial information they have collected to coerce elders that there is a need for them to move their assets from one place to another. That is, they create an urgency that the elder should move a savings account into a trust, immediately.

*Fees begin to accumulate as the predator charges a “consulting fee” or “retirement planning fee.”

*Financial predator convinces the elder to buy products such as annuities, so that the predator can collect a commission.

It is highly advisable to take a friend or family member with you when you are attending any type of “Senior Seminar.” Furthermore, there is no reason at all why you should offer anyone at the seminar any of your personal information, including account numbers, bank balances, or social security numbers. These seminars are used as a clearinghouse for collecting information, either for outright theft or for selling financial products that the elders neither need, nor understand.

If you suspect that a friend, family member, or loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse, contact Chris Walton, award-winning San Diego, California elder abuse lawyer to help evaluate your case and advise you how to proceed. Chris Walton has years of experience providing caring, compassionate representation to victims of elder abuse and their families. Call (866) 338-7079 for a confidential consultation.