Protect Older Adults from Financial Abuse

1. Be involved

When caring for an older adult, it is important to be involved in their life. Older adults are especially at risk for fraud and scams, due to their vulnerabilities such as loneliness and isolation. Staying involved can reduce this risk.

2. View their credit report annually

Getting a copy of their annual credit report will allow you to check for errors. If the credit report appears inaccurate, make corrections.

3. Purchase a paper shredder

Paper shredders are a quick and efficient way to destroy documents that put older adults at risk. Documents that contain personal information like bank statements, bills, and credit card offers are good examples of paperwork that should be shredded.

4. Be aware of signs of fraud

Signs of financial fraud looks like someone who visits the bank in person, and is now making frequent ATM trips. It can be seen as a cautious spender now making large withdrawals from the bank. Another sign is the older adult having bills unpaid, collection notices, and insufficient funds.

5. Stay alert of romances and new friends

Friendships are important and keep people from feeling lonely, romance too. However, loneliness can put older adults at risk. Scammers are typically looking for vulnerable groups that may not have someone in their life who looks after their finances. Having a new friend that goes to the bank often with them can be a sign as well. Daily Caring also suggests that fake new friends and new partners may try to isolate family from the older adult by saying that their caregivers and family do not have their best interests at heart.

6. Be cautious of close relationships

Older adults can be taken advantage of by family members and even caregivers. Some hired caregivers and unethical family members see the vulnerability in older adults and may abuse their trust by asking them for large gifts, will changes, and loans.

7. Educate them about internet fraud

Internet fraud is something that should be discussed with older adults connecting to strangers online. It is important to encourage your older adult to make sure their friends are real people. There are many fraudsters online, who use alternative profiles to steal money. Keep an eye out for your older adult making large bank transfers. Bank transfers using the Western Union to send money overseas makes it more difficult to track who the fraudster is.

8. If a scam occurs, be supportive

If a scam occurs, remain non-judgmental and understanding. This is likely a difficult moment for your older adult, and it is important to keep them feeling supported. This will help them when it comes to discussing the issue with a lawyer or any other professional.

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