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Are your parents elderly? Do they enjoy attention? Do they answer their phone?  If the answers to these questions are Yes, it is worth your time to review the following phone scams with your parents:

• Caller claims to be a Medicare representative. Your parents will be asked to share personal information, including an insurance identification number. Once they share this information, the scammer will use it to bill Medicare for fake services, and then pocket the money which will create problems for your parents with Medicare.

• Caller claims to be to be with the IRS and provides some of your parent’s personal information and then tells them they have past taxes due and the payment must be paid by debit card or wire transfer.

• Caller claims to be a lottery representative and your parents have won a prize. Once they wire the funds or send money, the scammer will send a fake check to be deposited in the bank. The bank will reject the phony check, and the scammer will take the money your parents sent in.

• Caller claims to be a financial advisor. The caller then asks for information related to your parent’s retirement funds and savings. If they share these details, the scammer will access their accounts, take the money and disappear.

Do not let your elderly parents become “sitting ducks” for scammers. Review situations like this with them and if necessary have your parents give you Financial Power of Attorney over their affairs and start paying their bills. Open a new checking account or credit card account and close the existing accounts so a scammer cannot “cash in” with your parents on the phone. Ensure you use a competent estate attorney for the power of attorney so the document allows you to perform these activities

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Peter B. Smith is a Family Wealth Advisor at the Planning Solutions Group in Fulton, MD and is an Annapolis resident. He can be reached at 301-543-6008 or by email at