Rooftop Solar Scams Targeting The Elderly

Ruben Ugarte
By Ruben Ugarte | October 3rd, 2019 03:41pm
Ruben is passionate about solar power and sustainability. He speaks and writes about renewable energy and contributes to the Solar blog at Ask-Solar.com.

Don’t Let Your Good Intentions Make You Susceptible to Fraud 

In general, older adults and seniors fall victim to fraud in the United States more than any other age group. Telemarketers and door-to-door solicitors alike prey on seniors for different reasons:

  • They assume many of them own their homes outright and have money in savings.
  • They believe they may suffer from dementia or some other cognitive dysfunction.
  • They count on the generosity and good-will of seniors.
  • They believe seniors more susceptible to fear and intimidation tactics.

The exploitation of seniors in the United States, unfortunately, continues to show profits for many companies. Fraudulent transactions cost seniors easily over three billion dollars annually. The average individual cost comes in at about $120,000.

Recent legislation offers some relief by allowing banks and credit unions to spot possible fraudulent activity and inform the account holder. However, we need much stricter legislation to protect the consumer adequately.

Staying in communication with your senior relatives will help them feel comfortable in divulging any fraudulent concerns.

Seniors and PACE loans:

Many older adults display an interest in environmental matters not so much for personal concerns but the future well-being of their children and grandchildren. Of course, the idea of saving money may also weigh-in when purchasing solar panels to reduce their energy bills.

Door-to-door salespeople from Property Assessment Clean Energy or PACE target seniors to solicit high fee and high energy loans to transform their homes into more energy-efficient dwellings. Often, these seniors live near or below the poverty line. Many, again represent a vulnerable target due to cognitive decline or pure loneliness. 

For some, solar panels don't make practical sense due to the size and condition of their dwelling. Additionally, besides the cost of the product and the fees and interest associated with the loan, some will see a substantial increase in property taxes. Especially for seniors already using a minimum of energy, the savings on their energy bills do not offset the costs they acquire with a high-interest PACE loan.

Protecting seniors from fraud:

Many if not most older adults possess the cognitive function and savvy to weed out fraudulent tactics and make sound financial decisions. Whether you or a loved one need fraud protection, consider the following guidelines before making a large purchase or investment for the home.

  • Do your research. Make sure if considering solar panels that your home qualifies for the loan. Of course, you must own the house and not rent.
  • Get more than one quote. In addition to comparing prices, also get legitimate consumer reviews.
  • Block solicitations from your telephone and don't answer the door if you don't feel comfortable.
  • Schedule a financial review with a professional or an appointed family member. 
  • Review the big picture regarding taxes. Make sure the savings in energy bills make up for any property tax increases.
  • Put financial safeguards in place with your bank or credit union.
  • Visit or call your loved one often. Staying in communication with your senior relatives will help them feel comfortable in divulging any fraudulent concerns.

 

Advantages of solar:

For many homeowners, the addition of solar panels represents a financially and socially responsible choice. Some of the direct benefits of solar energy include:

  • It helps reduce carbon emissions, making it an environmentally-friendly choice.
  • It saves the availability of the electric supply.
  • It requires little maintenance.
  • It saves money on the electric bill.
  • It adds value to your home for resale.

At AskSolar.com, we do a thorough assessment to determine what you should expect in the way of savings from the installation of solar panels. We provide complete information to the consumer. We possess the most modern technology to make sure you're getting the most accurate information available. 

Choosing to install solar rooftop panels represents an environmentally sound step. Before signing anything, make sure it involves fair financing and an option that makes sense for your home and your bank account. For more information on fraud protection contact us.

 

 

 

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