Memory Loss Makes You An Easy Target For Scams

Memory Loss Makes You An Easy Target For Scams

In our increasingly digital world, it’s easier than ever to get taken advantage of. With identity theft and scams at an all-time high, and our memories not as sharp as they used to be, it’s easy to see why. If you have memory loss, you become an easier target of predatory lenders. You may find yourself forgetting things or having poor concentration, which means you may not pay close attention when someone tries to take advantage of you. 

What Is Predatory Lending?

You may have heard of predatory lending, but what exactly is it? Predatory lending involves the use of deceptive or misleading tactics to lure borrowers into high-priced loans. 

Predatory lenders don’t always advertise themselves as such. They may seem like a good option at first glance, but they convince people to take out loans they can’t afford. Their tactics often include misrepresenting the loan terms, charging hidden fees or disguising fees in confusing contracts, hiding the true cost of credit until after issuing the loan, and charging high interest rates. Predatory lending can often lead to financial ruin because borrowers don’t realize how much debt they’re taking on or that better options are available until it’s too late.

Who Is Most Vulnerable To It?

Anyone can be a victim, but predatory lenders take advantage of borrowers who are perceived to be most vulnerable, like senior citizens, people with low income and poor credit, single parents, minority groups, and recent immigrants.

Your age plays a role in these scams. Most people notice that their memory is not as sharp starting in their 60s.  Criminals target older folks because they are less technologically savvy, may be isolated and are often easier to trick, especially if you have memory loss. Predatory lenders can target a person with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) because they may not remember what they signed up for or how much debt they’ve accumulated over time. They can also target a person with dementia who can’t make good financial decisions and may not have an attentive caregiver watching out for scams. Those with any form of cognitive decline typically have difficulty understanding contracts and other paperwork related to loans or credit cards. 

How To Protect Yourself Against Scams

To avoid being taken advantage of by scammers or predatory lenders, people with memory loss must be aware of how these schemes work to protect themselves from falling victim.

Don’t return calls, emails or texts from people you don’t know.  Most scams come to you via calls, emails or texts.  Never click on a link in an email from an unknown source.  If you are interested in what is described, look it up on the internet or access it from the contact information in your own records.  Look at the ip address of the sender of the email.  If it is not clearly an email from the company being represented, it is a scam.  Scammers have become quite sophisticated.  Recent scams include callers whose caller id says they are a certain bank.  They tell you that someone hacked your bank account and you need to move your money to your own Zelle, PayPal or Venmo account.  While moving the money, the scammers grab your money.  Caller id is not controlled and will read whatever the caller programs it to read.  The IRS will not call you.  Some calls say they are the police and you will be arrested if you don’t call them back!  Always look up the number of the entity they describe on the internet and call that number.  Do NOT call the number left in the message or text.  This is the best way to avoid scams from someone who is pretending to represent a legitimate entity when their intentions are only nefarious. 

Watch out for the “good deal”. These deals often come in the form of loans that offer “low payment” options, but charge hidden fees or high interest rates. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. 

Avoid signing things that seem unfamiliar. You might get a new credit card or loan offer in the mail or online, but if you don’t remember asking for this or can see that there are fees you don’t understand, it may be a scam.

Trust your loved ones who express concern. If a family member or friend expresses concern about a loan, credit card offer, or a financial transaction that seems fishy, trust their gut feel and talk it over before entering into any contract.

Do your research before signing any contracts or other legal documents. Read the fine print on all documents carefully before signing them. If something feels wrong or seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Don’t feel pressured into making decisions quickly. Scammers may insist that it’s a limited-time offer or may pressure you into taking action now “before it’s too late”. Take time to think through your options and make sure it’s legit. 

Take care of your cognitive health. This is usually not included in the list of tips, but the best way to avoid becoming a victim of scams is to keep your mind active and sharp. When your cognition is in tip-top shape, you become alert to red flags and deceptive tactics.

Ways To Keep Your Memory Sharp 


It’s important to be aware of how deceptive schemes and scams can adversely affect people with cognitive decline. If you or someone you love has memory loss, there are several steps that you can take to avoid being scammed. By educating yourself on some of the most common scams, taking the necessary precautions, and keeping your memory sharp, you should be able to safeguard against predatory lenders and scammers who may try to take advantage of you. Protecting your memory will help protect you from scams.

If you want to know more about how to spot a predatory lender, click this link:

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