Protect elders from financial fraud
posted by Liz Little (Retired) on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 in SHAZAM Blog
In this age of technology and electronic funds, there is a greater risk for fraud. So much so, that our seniors lost an estimated $2.9 billion last year alone.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15 and this is a good time to review ways to deter incidents of fraud. Share these tips from the American Bankers Association to help elders better protect themselves and their finances:
- Plan ahead to protect your assets and to ensure your wishes are followed. Talk to someone at your financial institution, an attorney, or financial advisor about the best options for you.
- Shred receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
- Carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters.
- Lock up your checkbook, account statements and other sensitive information when others will be in your home.
- Order copies of your credit report once a year to ensure accuracy.
- Never give personal information, including Social Security Number, account number or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
- Never pay a fee or taxes to collect sweepstakes or lottery “winnings.”
- Never rush into a financial decision. Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion.
- Consult with a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.
- Get to know your banker and build a relationship with the people who handle your finances. They can look out for any suspicious activity related to your account.
- Check references and credentials before hiring anyone. Don’t allow workers to have access to information about your finances.
- Pay with your debit card, credit card or check instead of cash to make sure there’s a paper trail.
- Feel free to say “no.” After all, it’s your money.
- You have the right not to be threatened or intimidated. If you think someone close to you is trying to take control of your finances, call your local Adult Protective Services or tell someone at your bank.
- Trust your instincts. Exploiters and abusers often are very skilled. They can be charming and forceful in their effort to convince you to give up control of your finances. Don’t be fooled—if something doesn’t feel right, it may not be right. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
And remember, never share your Social Security number, credit card number or any other personally identifiable information with persons on the phone unless you initiated the call and know who you are speaking with.
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