In the past, it was easier to trust people in the neighborhood. There was a sense of community. Everyone tended to watch out for neighbors, friends, and family.
Unfortunately, things have changed. Today it’s essential that homeowners be cautious, especially seniors.  Most seniors don’t understand the changes in the world. They are too trusting. They don’t realize the harm that can come from door-to-door scammers. Seniors should be cautioned about even opening their front door, especially to strangers.  Families and friends must assist seniors in helping them become more adept at identifying and avoiding today’s unrelenting con artists.

Educating Seniors about Door-to-Door Scams

Even though neighborhood door-to-door sales are common for Girl Scouts and school fundraisers, it is important to be wary. Some of the sales are legitimate. They are efforts by children to raise money for a worthy organization. In other circumstances, strangers are looking for openings to take advantage of unknowing senior citizens.
A primary reason that seniors fall prey to scammers is that they don’t know how to differentiate between a legitimate fundraiser and a seasoned crook.

Reputable Organization or Scammer?

How can a senior know if they should give money to the person outside? It comes down to the relationship with the person, as well as the reputation of the organization. For example, grandparents love to support their grandchildren or the neighborhood kids with fundraising efforts. In these situations, there is usually a trustworthy company behind the request, such as the Girl Scouts.
Extreme caution should be used if a stranger is soliciting money. Even though the salesman looks clean cut, there is a good chance that person is trying to gather sensitive financial information, such as credit card numbers. Or worse, get inside the home and do greater harm.

Protecting the Safety of Your Loved Ones

If there is ever a question about the validity of the salesperson, seniors should politely and firmly decline the offer. The best solution is to never open the door to a stranger.  Install a video doorbell so that the senior can see the person on the front porch without opening the door.
Most seniors can benefit from increasing their skepticism and street smarts. But, they won’t necessarily understand the risks without input and guidance from trusted family members. It’s important that families continuously educate elderly parents and neighbors about these threats.
Do you need help teaching elderly family members about potential scams? Email or call 858-480-7551. Senior Safe and Sound.
This information is intended to inform the public at large about this important issue. It is not intended to serve as legal advice.