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Tennessee Reports Increase in Elder Financial Exploitation

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Tennessee Reports Increase in Elder Financial Exploitation

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office reports an 87 percent increase in the financial exploitation of the elderly over the last four years.

Middle Tennessee Better Business Bureau President Robyn Householder said scammers prey on elders during situations like stock market instability, COVID-19 and natural disasters. Householder said tornado relief scams have slowed since March, but charities and storm chasing contractors are still being reported.

“Sell you a job at a much lower price than a local contractor will provide you and then unfortunately,” Householder said. “Six months or a year from now when you have a problem with that leaky roof, or that gutter system not working correctly or that window repair that hasn’t been installed, you’re not going to be able to find the contractor.”

Householder said do an online search for the entity contacting an elder and add the word scam to the search. She said seniors should also avoid giving in to over the phone pressure, or releasing private info over the phone.

Householder said this is critical as Medicare open enrollment begins on October 15th.

“The only time a Medicare Part B type vendor will reach out to you is if you already have an established relationship with them,” Householder said. “If you’re getting solicitation, phone calls, text messages, chances are those are not legitimate organizations.”

Householder said Social Security scams are also popping up. These scams involve claims that an elders Social Security number is going to expire.

“Your Social Security card does not expire,” Householder said. “They’re going to want to charge you a fee to, quote unquote, reactivate it.”

Householder said the most important thing to remember is that government agencies do not charge you fees. If someone is unsure how to investigate something they believe is a scam, Householder said contact your local BBB.

Householder said other scams Tennessee has been targeting recently are precious metal and COVID-19 scams.


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