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How do I keep my parents from being scammed?

I love talking about how to keep our elderly loved ones safe from those that would take advantage of them. I personally believe that there is a special spot in a very warm place reserved for those that would stoop to such a level as to try and take financial advantage of an elderly person.

What does it say about our society when those most vulnerable are preyed upon by others?

I like to do my part in trying to help families avoid this awful situation. I spoke once with a family that had been wondering why mom and dad seemed to be putting off buying things they needed. The kids all knew that money was not an issue. When finally pressed, the parents admitted that they had been sending money to someone who had scammed them into thinking they were going to get a large financial reward. They kept sending more money until all the money was gone.

These scammers often lure their victims by promising that financial reward, which never materializes. Of course, the financial scam callers are just one type of these low lifes. There is a whole spectrum of different scams being run. Just a week or two ago in Gwinnett we heard about the guy going door to door selling tree services that were never completed. There is no way in this article to cover all the possible variations on these scams but here are some things that I believe can help to keep those you love from becoming victims.

1) Get your loved ones on the Do Not Call Registry at

2) Do not ever give out personal information over the phone or through emails. Legitimate entities, like banks and credit card companies, do not ask you to fill out personal information for them that they should already know. Information like account numbers or social security numbers. Even if it looks legit, real companies do not do this. Period.

3) It is OK to be rude if someone is pushing you to do something you don’t want to do.

4) Never sign anything you don’t understand. Have someone you trust review it if you don’t comprehend what you’re being asked to sign.

5) Keep up to date on the most current trends in fraud by signing up for AARP Fraud Watch alerts at

Probably the absolute best advice I could give in the area of fraud prevention is to keep the lines of communication open. Our loved ones are often embarrassed or ashamed so they don’t want anyone else to know what has happened. Make sure they know that they can call and with no judgment, you will help fix the situation to the best of your ability. The scammers count on people not figuring out what is going on until it’s too late. Let’s change that and keep these vermin from exploiting those that should be protected, not taken advantage of.

Tim Golden is the owner of BrightStar Care, Lawrenceville. You can reach Tim at (404)281-1537 or by emailing For more information please visit

Tim Golden
BrightStar Care
PO Box 634
Lawrenceville, GA 30046