Tips for Protecting the Elderly from Financial Fraud
Elderly people are often targets of fraud. The scope of the problem is staggering, costing elderly Americans an estimated total of $36.5 billion each year. The actual amount lost may be even higher; most of the older people who are victims of fraud never report it. Scammers may find people who have cognitive disabilities to be the easiest targets, but no older person is safe from fraud. More than 2 million seniors who are not cognitively impaired fall victim to fraud every year.
If you have an elderly loved one, what can you do to help protect him or her from financial scammers? Start with these tips:
Educate Yourself and Your Loved One About Fraud
Most people are not aware of the many types of scams that target the elderly. The National Council on Aging has a list of the 10 most common types of fraud. By learning more about these scams, you can better explain them to your loved one. When it comes to financial fraud, knowledge is power. Knowing what fraud typically looks like helps you and your loved one spot warning signals early on.
Talk to Your Loved One About His or Her Finances
Sit down and have a talk with your loved one about finances. Offer to help with paying bills and keeping track of activity in their accounts. Finances can be a sensitive topic, and your loved one may not want the help. However, if your loved one is willing, keep an eye on his or her account statements to see if there is any activity in the accounts that is out of the ordinary.
Remind Your Loved One to Be Careful with Personal Information
Remind your elderly loved one not to give out credit card numbers, bank account numbers, or any other financial or personal information to a stranger on the phone or at the door. Tell your loved one to check with you first if they ever have any questions about whether it’s safe to give out their information.
An Elder Abuse Attorney Can Help
If you suspect that your loved one may have been the victim of a scam, find out about his or her legal rights by talking to an experienced elder abuse attorney. At Garcia & Artigliere, we are passionate about protecting the rights of seniors. Call us at (800) 281-8515 for a free consultation.