Now when I used to travel and sing Gospel music (bookhoodle years ago) I was known to have been on here a few times and let me just say – I’m not a BIG FAN. I get it is a business – and must be run like any multi-million dollar business, but at what point must we act like Christians? Which, in essence means – Christ like or connected with Christ. We just heard last week one “Christian” Pat Robertson, who said it was okay to divorce your spouse if they had Alzheimer’s. Before you think this post is about religion I will tell you it’s not, relax.
Trinity Broadcasting Network (“TBN”) is a religious television network, created by Paul and Jan Crouch, and is the world’s largest Christian television network and is seen on more than 3,200 television stations, 21 satellites, the Internet and thousands of cable systems around the world. That’s a lot of seniors in that mix.
Anyway, while channel surfing I noticed TBN was advertising to their viewers, which are known to be a senior majority, to go ahead and change your will making THEM the beneficiary. I could not believe what I had just seen and actually “said out loud” what the……… “The balls of these folks” was one of the second things I think I said.
This, to me, should be filed somewhere in “financial scams of the elderly”.…and when Googling it just now – couldn’t find anyone who had addressed this particular issue.
I wondered how many of these senior citizens are actually lured into doing this and changing the names of family members without anyone’s knowledge, accept their attorney’s.
What makes elderly citizens such inviting targets? They are for the most part, very trusting and very loyal. And folks like TBN know this, and prey upon it.
The lure of easy money brings out all sorts of unsavory characters. There are outright con men looking to gain seniors’ trust so they can get access to their accounts. There are flim-flam artists running telemarketing scams that peddle phony vacation packages or solicit money for dubious charities. And there are “legitimate” investment advisers who run “free” retirement planning seminars where seniors are steered into high-fee investments. (For more on one particularly egregious investment that’s often pushed on retirees – equity index annuities – click here.
So what can you do to prevent elderly relatives or friends from falling prey to such schemes?
Well, you can start by alerting older relatives and friends about the types of schemes out there that specifically target seniors. If you feel mom or dad or a friend is being targeted, check out the North American Securities Administrator’s Senior Investment Resource Center, which includes a rundown on some of the most common deceptions making the rounds these days. And here is a great Fraud Awareness Quiz.
Also, you should have already had the talk with mom and dad about getting power of attorney and even taking them to your elder-law attorney (see my recommendations of those in Chicago on the side bar) to get things in place insuring their financial future, and your own. If you haven’t, you’d better do it. Do it now.
Here are 4 scams – and how to avoid them.
Here’s a great link on scams against the elderly and what to do.
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