How to Protect Seniors from Financial Abuse
From online schemes to predatory phone calls, many scammers target seniors. But as a caregiver, you can help protect your loved one from financial fraud. Take the following precautions.
Be aware of common schemes
There are many different scams targeting seniors and being aware of them is one of the most important steps to prevention. A simple internet search can give you detailed information on individual scams including specific tactics and messaging used. Common scams can include:
- Medicare and health insurance scams
- Counterfeit prescription drugs
- Funeral and cemetery scams
- Telemarketing scams
- Email scams
- Sweepstakes and lottery scams
- Grandparent scam
- Reverse mortgage scam
Once you’ve researched common scams, share that information with your loved one. Caution them to never give important financial or personal information through email, websites or over-the-phone.
Assist in financial management
Getting involved with bill pay and asset management will allow you to asses the financial situation of your loved one. In most cases, the senior can set up a power of attorney to help make decisions if they can no longer do so. They can also name joint agents to set up a system of checks and balances. This can be an emotional decision for families, especially if your loved one feels that they’re losing financial independence. Have an open and honest discussion, before making the decision.
Check-in and visit regularly
When you are regularly involved in your loved one’s financial health, it’s easier to notice red flags and abnormal activity. These are some warning signs of financial abuse:
- Unexpected changes in will, trusts or powers of attorney
- Unexplained withdrawals, transfers or checks
- Conversations about a new “friend” needing financial assistance
- New financial account registrations
- Large ATM withdrawals from a home-bound senior
- Unpaid bills despite adequate income
- Sudden non-sufficient fund activity
If you notice a change in financial activities, it’s important to consult with your loved one to figure out if there is fraudulent activity. Many financial scams involving seniors often go unreported, because the victim feels embarrassed or vulnerable.
At Generations Senior Living, we’re committed to preserving the dignity and spirit of independence of our residents. We can help you and your family facilitate these challenging discussions. Contact us to learn more.