Companies that fleece the elderly rely on fear tactics and promises of a long and healthy life

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

As I’ve aged, I’ve started getting direct mail promotions targeting senior citizens for about everything. including burial insurance, gold and “fountain of youth” pills.

If I needed burial insurance, I sure wouldn’t buy it from an unsolicited brochure that lands in my mailbox. But a lot of people get taken in by these offers.

The elderly are getting fleeced in some pretty shady ways, and more often than not they are scared into buying.

How about some gold?

Why would companies even offer you the opportunity to buy their gold when their commercials cite horrible economic times on the horizon.

If those hard times really were ahead of us, wouldn’t those companies want to keep their gold to protect themselves rather than sell it to you for currency that, according to their own ads, is being threatened and may become worthless?

If I owned a lot of gold and someone told me that the dollar would soon be tanking, why would I want to sell anyone my gold?

While many older people are not all that computer-savvy, they watch TV and read. Which is why mailouts are still an effective marketing tool to target them.

Which is why after turning a certain age, the junk mail keeps coming, some less believable than others. Many older Americans have medical complications, and the scams that come through the mail looking as legitimate products, exploit that.

A couple of mail-outs grabbed my attention. One is a pamphlet called “Future of Medicine.” Right under the title there is a question: “Can you regrow and replace sick and old organs like this starfish?”

The answer is: “Experts say yes.”

What would most older people want if there was some way to make it possible, like taking a pill? That’s right – good health and vitality, for a long time.

This product promises that, and more. “A new body inside and out in just 90 days?” If you buy these capsules.

No more kidney, heart or any other organ problems. No more back pain, no more need for surgery, no more memory loss, arthritis, ringing ears and whatever ailments you must have. Heck, you may not even have to die, since your cells are being regenerated by this fountain of youth pill.

Another example from the junk mail pile. This one is titled “Cardio Health Today.”

“Take two little red pills and call me when you’re 100 years old,” screams the headline. Another miracle drug. Who wouldn’t want to live to be 100? This pill, which is really only another dietary supplement, will do the trick?

“Frank’s friends can’t believe how old he is,” reads another headline.

“Harvard scientist discovers a nutrient that supports vitality and targets the signs of aging throughout your body…”

These schemes have been around for a very long time in some shape or form, but you don’t have to fall victim to them. Use some common sense, and just think. If it only took a couple of pills daily to live to 100 or revitalize your cells, wouldn’t everybody be doing it already? If it looks too good to be true, it is too good to be true.

Whether it’s pills, or a reverse mortgage scam, or solicitation for large donations, don’t fall for any of it. And don’t be embarrassed to talk about it, urges the National Council for Aging.

“You are not alone, and there are people who can help. Doing nothing could only make it worse. Keep handy the phone numbers and resources you can turn to, including the local police, your bank (if money has been taken from your accounts), and Adult Protective Services.

“To obtain the contact information for Adult Protective Services in your area, call the Eldercare Locator, a government sponsored national resource line, at: 1-800-677-1116, or visit their website at: www.eldercare.gov.”

Two pills a day to live to 100? Realy? So, who needs burial insurance, anyway? Hand me the whole bottle."