Scam of the day – June 25, 2013 – Anthony Marshall begins prison sentence for elder fraud

Anthony Marshall was an accomplished soldier, Broadway producer and United States Diplomat.  He now is a convicted felon who after four years of appeals has finally started serving a prison sentence for his role in stealing  millions of dollars from his aging mother , society matron Brooke Astor.  At the time that Marshall and his accomplice, Francis X. Morrissey, Jr. tricked Brooke Astor, who was then over a 100 years old into changing her Will to give tens of millions of dollars to Marshall, Mrs. Astor was already suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease.  This case is an unfortunate example of elder financial abuse.  Scams and financial abuse of the elderly is a three billion dollar industry in America and although the elderly only account for 12% of the population, they account for 30% of scam victims.  Financial scams perpetrated upon the elderly take many forms, such as identity theft, affinity fraud, the grandparent scam, investment scams, Medicare scams, Social Security scams, lottery scams and charity scams.   Also distressing is the fact that much elder financial fraud is perpetrated by family members, such as in the case of Anthony Marshall.

TIPS

Although nothing  you can do will guarantee that you will not become a scam victim, there are many things you can do to help protect elderly family members from scams and identity theft.  First and foremost, the elderly person should pick two people to monitor and have access to his or her financial records.  Because many trusted advisers and family members have been undeserving of such trust and have stolen from their family members, it is a good idea to have two people in that capacity.  Other steps you can take include having the elderly person enroll in the Do Not Call List to avoid telemarketers.  Documents that are not required to be kept that have personal information should be shred.  Merely throwing them out puts these documents in danger of being harvested by dumpster diving identity thieves.  Documents that should be retained should be kept in a secure place such as a locked safe or safe deposit box that is not accessible by caretakers or prying family members.  The elderly person’s Social Security number and Medicare number, which is the same number, should be kept as private as possible.  Social Security cards and Medicare cards should not be carried around by the elderly person.  For more tips on how to protect yourself or an elderly relative or friend, check out my book  ” A Guide to Elder Planning.”  You can click on a link to the book on the right hand side of the front page of Scamicide to get the book from Amazon at a reduced price.

Scam of the day – April 6, 2013 – Elder financial abuse scams

The problem of financial abuse of seniors was highlighted again recently with the upholding of the conviction in New York of Anthony Marshall for scamming his own mother, socialite and philanthropist Brooke Astor.  Marshall exploited his mother’s failing mental health to steal money from her and also forged her name on a Will leaving her assets to him.  The crime of financial scams perpetrated on elders is one that it is not just committed by outside scammers who exploit the vulnerability of seniors with money, but also by people close to the seniors, such as caretakers, friends and family.

TIPS

It is important for family members to assist older family members with their finances to avoid this type of financial exploitation.  For seniors who are of sound mind and wish to manage their own affairs, the assistance can be merely a matter of “quality control” in which the trusted family member or members monitor bills, payments and investments.  For seniors less able to manage their affairs, the assistance should include control over finances and should also include the involvement of more than one person in order to avoid conflicts of interest or the very type of exploitation which you wish to avoid.

For more information about senior scams and how to prevent them, you should check out my book “A Guide to Elder Planning.”  A link to Amazon is provided elsewhere on this blog.

I also invite you to check out the vast number of scams contained in the archives of scamicide.com which can be accessed directly from the bottom of the blog where it says “older entries.”