As our loved ones age, they become more vulnerable to various forms of fraud and financial exploitation. Elder fraud has become an alarming issue, with countless seniors falling victim to scams that can devastate their finances and erode their trust. However, there are several steps we can take to safeguard our aging family members and protect their hard-earned money. Here are some practical measures to help prevent elder fraud and ensure the financial security of our loved ones.
Teach them about fraud
One of the most crucial steps in preventing elder fraud is education. Start by having an open and honest conversation with your loved ones about the various types of scams and fraudulent activities that exist. Discuss common tactics like phishing emails, phone scams, and fraudulent investment schemes. Ensure they know the warning signs and red flags to watch out for.
Encourage strong passwords and privacy settings
Many instances of elder fraud occur through online platforms and services. Advise your loved ones to create strong, unique passwords for all their accounts and encourage them to change these passwords regularly. Additionally, ensure they understand the importance of privacy settings on social media platforms and advise them to limit the personal information they share online.
Monitor financial statements regularly
Encourage your loved ones to review their bank statements, credit card bills, and other financial documents regularly. By keeping a close eye on their financial transactions, they can identify any suspicious activity or unauthorized charges promptly. Help them set up alerts and notifications on their accounts for additional security.
Loneliness and isolation can make seniors more susceptible to fraud. Stay actively involved in the lives of your loved ones and encourage them to build a strong support network of trusted friends, neighbors, and community members. Regular social interactions can provide a protective barrier against scams and financial exploitation.
Be cautious of unsolicited calls and emails
Remind your loved ones to be wary of unsolicited phone calls, emails, or messages from people they don’t know. Scammers often pose as representatives from banks, government agencies, or utility companies. Teach them to verify the identity of the caller or sender before sharing any personal or financial information. Encourage them to consult with you or another trusted family member before making any decisions regarding their finances.
Seek professional advice
Consider involving a financial advisor or lawyer who specializes in elder law to help protect your loved one’s finances. These professionals can provide guidance on estate planning, power of attorney, and other legal matters to ensure your loved ones are protected from fraud and financial exploitation.
Report suspected fraud
If you suspect that your loved one has fallen victim to elder fraud, report it immediately. Contact local law enforcement and your state’s Adult Protective Services agency. Provide them with any evidence or documentation you have to support your claim. Reporting the fraud helps prevent further victimization and increases the chances of recovering lost funds.
Valley can help
At Valley, we are committed to protecting seniors against identity theft, fraud, and any kind of financial exploitation. If you believe someone you love has been victimized by fraud or financial elder abuse, we can help. Stop by any Valley branch, contact us online, or call our Customer Service Team at 1-800-522-4100.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult our personal tax, legal and accounting advisors for advice before engaging in any transaction.