Unfortunately, senior fraud exists. It happens when an older adult is convinced to relinquish their assets to another person. Sometimes it is a stranger, but there are even examples of family members taking advantage of the senior citizens in their lives.
There has been progress as regulators and legislators have taken note of senior fraud. For example, banks and other financial institutions may ask an older adult who is making a large withdrawal why they are taking out the money. And if they are worried or share a story that appears to be a scam, the teller or bank representative can walk their customers through next steps to stopping the fraudulent activity.
Ways to Protect Senior Fraud
If you are a senior or are caring for an older adult, there are things you can do to avoid senior fraud. After all, while banks and outside institutions can help in some situations, an informed individual who can stop the activity immediately can sidestep financial damage before it begins.
- Check in. If a senior you care about is connected with someone suspicious, this is a big red flag. Particularly if this person has influenced the senior’s decisions about purchases or moving financial resources from one account to another. As soon as your suspicions arise, call and visit until you can get clear answers about the nature of the relationship.
- Stop solicitation. Take steps to opt out of solicitations, including ones being mailed to a person’s home. There are also ways to stop robocalls. Contact a phone provider to ask about options or use a third party blocking service.
- Work with the bank. Banks want to eliminate financial fraud, too. There are ways to work with them so you can help each other. For instance, a smaller account with a restricted spending limit could be set up. Also, oversight protections can be put in place. A trusted family member who does not have access to funds could be sent statements. When they look over account activity, they can assess if there was any suspicious behavior.
- Talk about online safety. It is important to have ongoing conversations about online safety with friends and family members, at every age. To help prevent senior fraud, older adults need to know to never give out personal or financial information online. Also, it can be helpful to have unique and complex passwords for every website that requires one.
- Avoid isolation. When preying on older adults, it is common for senior fraud scammers to use a person’s isolation or loneliness as a way to earn their trust. Having a trustworthy confidant can help to avoid senior fraud. Because then, when a stranger enters a senior’s life, they can talk to someone they trust abut the indivudal’s request to sell them a service or collect funds for a shady purpose.
Kendall Van Blarcom is a senior helping seniors. Contact Van Blarcom Consulting today for help with your personal problems. Or, reach out to provide support for an older adult in your life.