Elder fraud is a big problem in the senior community. Learn how you can protect yourself or a senior loved one in this guide.
There are over 7.8 million incidents of elder fraud every year. This highlights the urgency for individuals and families to proactively protect our seniors.
With the advancement of technology and the increasing sophistication of fraudsters, it is crucial to raise awareness and implement effective strategies to safeguard our elderly population. By understanding the common types of elder fraud and what can be done about it, we can create a safer environment for seniors.
If you have a senior in your life, they may need your help. Keep reading to learn what you can do to empower them against elder financial abuse and the like.
Education and Awareness
Often, seniors won’t know what a scam looks like. Without proper education and awareness, scammers can target their victims over and over again.
To stop this in your neighborhood you can organize workshops, community events, or information sessions. These events can teach seniors the most common types of fraud like identity theft, telemarketing scams, and investment fraud.
By providing real-life examples, awareness is enhanced. Their skepticism towards suspicious requests or offers will also increase as a result.
Maintain Open Communication
Aim to maintain healthy open communication for seniors in your family. This is crucial to their well-being.
Please encourage them to share their experiences, concerns, or encounters with suspicious individuals or activities. By fostering an environment of trust, seniors will feel comfortable seeking advice and guidance from their loved ones, thus reducing their vulnerability to fraud.
Strengthen Financial Literacy
You want the seniors in your life to feel empowered with financial literacy. By doing so, you’ll enhance their ability to detect and avoid fraudulent schemes.
Things like financial statements, bills, and contracts must be understood thoroughly. You could even encourage them to consult with a trusted financial advisor or power of attorney. This is especially crucial before making significant financial decisions.
Equipping seniors with the necessary knowledge will enable them to make informed choices and protect their assets.
Stay Involved in Their Financial Affairs
You’ll also want to regularly check in with them on their financial affairs. Be sure not to be too intrusive in the matter. As you stay informed, you’ll be able to quickly identify any unusual activity that might lead to elder abuse or fraud.
Implement Robust Privacy Measures
Another thing you can do to cut down on elder fraud is for them to practice good online hygiene. This is because fraudsters will often exploit personal information to perpetrate scams.
They should update their passwords regularly and avoid suspicious emails or messages. Tell them to refrain from sharing any sensitive information over the phone or online too.
Teach them about the dangers of clicking on suspicious links. Their software and apps should stay up to date as well. This will help to prevent any vulnerabilities scammers may exploit.
Stay Updated on Scams
These days, it pays to stay updated and informed on all things scams. Thankfully, it’s easy to do so via organizations like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
These organizations provide plenty of resources and alerts on emerging elder financial abuse. We advise you and the seniors in your life to subscribe to their newsletters and follow their social media accounts. You always want to be one step ahead of the scammers.
Monitor Financial Transactions
Seniors may also need assistance with their regular financial transactions. Encourage them to review bank statements, credit card bills, and other financial documents.
You may even consider setting up alerts or notifications to receive updates on account activity. You want them to develop privacy practices such as 2FA (two-factor authentication) etc.
Encourage Peer Support and Social Engagement
Loneliness and isolation are a recipe for scammers to prey on. This is when elder fraud is more likely to happen.
Encourage them to participate in social activities, clubs, or senior centers to build a strong support network. By engaging with peers, seniors can share experiences and knowledge about potential scams, offering each other guidance and support.
Be Cautious of Unsolicited Contacts
Warn seniors about the dangers of responding to unsolicited emails, phone calls, or door-to-door salespeople. Fraudsters often employ persuasive tactics. They’ll create a sense of urgency or excitement to trick seniors into making hasty decisions.
Encourage seniors to verify the identity of unknown callers or visitors.
Seek Legal Advice for Estate Planning
Encourage seniors to consult with an attorney to create or update their estate plans, wills, and trusts. A well-drafted estate plan can protect their assets, ensure their wishes are followed, and minimize the risk of fraud or exploitation during times of vulnerability.
Establish a Do Not Call List
Is the senior in your life receiving a lot of unwanted spam calls? Put them on the National Do Not Call Registry. It won’t cut out all spam calls but it will significantly reduce the frequency.
Take a Defiant Stand Against Elder Fraud
Protecting seniors from elder fraud requires a comprehensive approach. This involves education, awareness, communication, etc.
Implement the suggested strategies in our post. When you do, you’ll be well on your way to protecting the seniors in your life.
Combating elder abuse is a sign of showing respect to seniors. It also ensures that they’ll enjoy their golden years that much more.
Remember, there is strength in numbers. If you’re experiencing elder fraud in your family, we’re here to help. Do not hesitate to contact Johnson/Turner Legal today!