The Best Ways Elderly People Can Avoid Rip-off Artists Who Target Them at Home
Rip-off artists always try to target vulnerable people as they assume they are easier to scam. Unfortunately, this is often the case in many instances, with elderly people being a common target.
Door-to-door scammers certainly take advantage of this, regularly targeting elderly individuals in their home. They usually claim they are a contractor or salesperson, manipulating the individual into handing over cash or checks up front for alleged services or products.
However, as soon as they get the cash, they take off without ever fulfilling their service, simply stealing the money and never being heard from again.
This is unquestionably a despicable practice, yet the sad truth is that due to the success of many door-to-door scams targeting the elderly, rip-off artists continue to try their scams against this demographic.
Thankfully, it’s possible for elderly people to avoid these rip-off artists using some of the following methods:
1. Never conduct businesses with a door-to-door salesperson without written information and verification
A simple yet effective stance to take is to avoid ever doing business with a door-to-door salesperson unless they provide plenty of information about their company. This means taking a company name, their office location, and the name of salesperson, all of which must be verifiable.
Emphasize this to your elderly parent or relative that may be at risk. Tell them that if a salesperson comes to their door and cannot provide any of the above info, then they are to be avoided at all costs. Never listen to excuses if they can’t give out this info – it’s a sure sign they cannot be trusted.
2. Contractors must have necessary licensing
Any contractor offering their services must show their contractor’s license, as any person claiming to be a contractor without a license is likely a scammer. Many will claim they don’t require a license for certain types of work, but never take their word at face value.
Yes, it may be true that they don’t require a license, but it’s still never worth taking the risk. Any contractor that shows up door-to-door offering their services should be regarded with suspicion, so be sure to inform any elderly loved ones of this.
3. Always request authentic references
Another great way to avoid rip-off artists is to ask for references, as they can never provide them due to their track record of scamming people. Make sure that the elderly person takes the time to call all references to ensure they are authentic, and be mindful if there are only newer references.
All rip-off artists leave a trail of unhappy “customers” behind them, so the last thing they ever want to provide is references. Anyone coming to your door that becomes evasive regarding references should be avoided at all costs.
4. Never hire anyone on the spot
Most rip-off artists that target the elderly in their homes are opportunistic. They want to deceive their way into being hired as soon as possible and be paid up front, using forceful tactics to pressure the person into hiring them.
For this reason, they rarely come back after their initial visit, so a simple way to avoid any problems is to never hire any contractor or pay a salesperson on the spot. If they claim the person requires immediate repairs or a service, always take a few days to gather second opinions, research their business, and check for references.
Nothing is ever so urgent that needs to be dealt with there and then, unless the service was requested directly by the homeowner.
5. Never give out personal information at the door
Another very simple, yet no less effective tactic – never let elderly people give out personal information to strangers. Many scammers want bank details or other valuable personal details, so it’s easy to avoid giving out this info to a stranger standing at your door.
Rip-off artists will use any number of claims to get personal information, from charities to healthcare to prize drawings – ensure you have warned any elderly loved ones to never give out their personal details to door-to-door sales persons, charity workers, contractors etc.
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