Each year, millions of aging adults fall victim to some form of financial abuse, be it phishing scams, identity theft, or fraud. Scammers target the older population because they tend to be more trusting and financially well-off, while being less familiar with technology and often ashamed to report an attack. So, it’s important to familiarize yourself with common scam tactics so you can help prevent your aging loved ones from being taken advantage of. Read on for our care experts’ best advice for avoiding – and responding to – fraud and scams.
Start the conversation today
Bringing up the subject of fraud schemes to aging loved ones can be tricky. While your intention is to help, they may feel that you don’t trust their judgment. Try approaching the topic with a warm yet serious tone, and remind them that everyone is at risk of this today - not just them!
Establish clear do’s and don’ts
Set ground rules for your family, such as never giving personal information in unsecure settings (phone, email, text messages, in-person), hovering over links before clicking to view URL destinations, and avoiding picking up phone calls from unfamiliar numbers. When in doubt, ask questions, look for proof, and get a second opinion if something seems off.
Set up lines of defense
The best method of defense against fraud and scams is to protect what you have by using legal methods available. You may want to consider setting up Power of Attorney documents, having caregiver contracts in place, freezing your credit, and meeting with financial advisors.
Put a response plan in place
If you or your loved one has fallen victim to a scammer, the immediate response should be to record as many details about the event as possible, including day and time, and information about the victim, scammer, transaction and/or interaction. Next, contact the appropriate organization to report the incident.