Managing finances declines as we age, so you will find that aging parents are more vulnerable to financial scams and frauds. It is important that you learn the warning signs and take precautions to prevent devastating losses from happening to your loved one.
Having proper elderly care doesn’t just mean looking after them and giving them the support they need, you also want to ensure that you protect them.
One of the reasons for have elderly care is to guard them against scammer and thieves who target them because there is no one close by. Having said that, here are five ways you can protect your elderly parents from financial frauds:
- Talk about Money Scams
Seniors are more targets for scams than other age groups; about one in every five Americans aged 65 and above has at least fallen victims of scams. A financial abuse among seniors costs them over $2.9 billion every year with an average abuse of $30,000.
Only about one in every 44 financial abuses among elderly is reported and most are ashamed or they aren’t even aware of it because they have cognitive impairment. The exploitation is done by scammers, family member, caregivers, or other people close to them. Although it may not be anything to talk about, you need to do it.
Know where your parents keep their money. Ask them to tell you when they want you to help manage their finances. Also know about the financial paperwork including their deeds and wills or their tax, legal, and financial professionals because these are people who could also take part in the swindling of money.
The National Crime Prevention Council advises that when older adults get phone callers from unknown callers, they should tell them that they want to first discuss whatever they are offering or the issues being raised with family and friends before a decision is made. This way, the scammer or fraudster will hang up or discontinue the conversation.
“If your parents shop online for medical supplies and other needs check what sites they’re visiting,” warns Steven Z. Zeldes, CEO at AvaCare Medical. “There are many online sites that aren’t secure or even legitimate and it’s important to make sure the sites they are using and providing credit card information to be Google approved.”
- Watch out for Signs of Troubles
You need to know when your elderly parent begins to lose track of their money. Check for notices coming from creditors and for piled-up bills.
You can also check their bank accounts to see if there are any suspicious activities going on for example unusual purchases and withdrawals. Another thing is to look at the Powers of Attorney or will and see if there are suspicious changes made.
If you haven’t visited them of late, do so and look for changes since you last were there. If you reside close by, you probably know the lifestyle and home of the elderly parent and the next time you visit them you can see if there are any changes. Look at them to see if they still have the fresh eyes because it will help detect if there is something amiss. If you don’t resident around, it can be difficult to know what’s happening and how they are doing. It’s also possible that you will guilty about not seeing them often, however, when you make less frequent visits, the next time you come in to their house, you can recognize if something is wrong.
- Look out for Scams
Mostly, predators targeting elderly people will use the phone to reach out to them. So, you want to educate your parent about any potential scam tactics. Ask them to refrain from giving out any information about money or personal details over the phone.
Most scams start with a person calling to tell the elderly that they have won a sweepstake or lottery. Another common scam is someone who poses as an officer from the IRS and he or she threatens to initial legal process for balances that are unpaid. Such unsolicited calls should be avoided.
You also want to request the parent to have the Do Not Call Registry along with asking the Direct Marketing Association to reduce junk mail. Tell the parents to never at all share their Medicare or Social Security numbers. Let the parents know that IRS only reaches individuals through regular mail and not by phone regarding tax matters. When you get involved and let the parent know of these scams they will be enlightened and they can avoid them. They can also call you if they suspect something is wrong.
- Ask the Parent Not to Sign Just Anything
It is likely that the parents will be asked to sign documents, sometimes authentic ones and at other times, illegal ones. Ask them that they avoid signing any documents that they do not know about. If it is a legal paper or some other document, request a trusted person to help them if you are not around.
- Get Involved in Financial Planning
Taking part in the financial planning help you to work together as the family during the time when the parents are adapting to older age. In this case, if one of the elderly parents cannot manage their money, you have a smooth transition.
Recent data indicates that seniors who discuss their finances and money matters with family, friends, and professionals are likely to put in place measures to prevent going through financial elder abuse.
Financial scams among the seniors come in different forms. They can be offers or prizes for sweepstakes, lotteries, and promotions. They can be timeshare sales or re-sales and charitable donations. The scams may present in form of investment opportunities, work from home programs, or business opportunities. There are also healthcare services and products that are a scam.
If your parent is going to the restaurant or grocery store, encourage them to make cash payment. Every people like waiters or point of sale clerks can easily find the elderly is unaware of the scams and try to use credit card skimmers to get the credit card numbers to use thereafter for ill-intentions.