Almost anyone can be a target for fraud and identity theft, but researchers have found that those 50 and older are the most vulnerable to financial scams every year. Predators attack older adults and seniors with the false promise of goods, services, or financial gains that do not exist or were never be intended to be provided. They can be targeted through the mail, online, over the phone or even in person.
Many factors make elders an attractive target. Not only were they were raised during a time when people were more open and trusting of one another; they also are often hesitant to discuss financial errors with family members and caretakers for fear of appearing vulnerable or helpless.
Tips for protecting your elderly loved ones from fraud:
- Making sure your loved one is aware that phrases such as this is a limited time offer” or “while supplies last” are clear signs of fraud. Seniors should never feel pressured to make an impulsive decision.
- Advise your senior never to give out personal information such as their Social Security number or home address over the phone to callers. Educate them to share this information with trusted sources only.
- Encourage them to shred any junk mail that may contain personal information or promise large amounts of money and prizes.
- Offer to help manage their finances. If large amounts of money are missing from their bank accounts or if checks have been made to unknown companies, this may be a red flag.
- When targeted, seniors or their caregivers should file complaints with the state’s attorney general.
Educating older adults on different types of frauds and scams can go along way when taking steps toward prevention. With the right tools and education, your senior will never have to fear being a victim of fraud.
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