Protect yourself and your elders from financial abuse

Steps to take and scams to avoid
Online identity
Cybersecurity
Written by: Matt Weightman, Senior Vice President and Retail Division Manager
Family member helping to spot scams online

People 65 and older are often the target of financial exploitation by scammers who play on factors such as their trust, kindness and loneliness. Would-be criminals may call, text, email, use social media or other means to get information or manipulate a person to wire funds, buy gift cards and more. As knowledge is key to protecting yourself and your loved ones, here are a few tips and resources to help you get started.


Take preventive steps: 

Talk about it – If you have aging parents, start a conversation about money. Listen, ask their advice and ease into deeper issues. As you age, talk with your younger loved ones. An open dialog makes it easier if the time comes to add a trusted individual to financial accounts or assign power of attorney.

Keep connected – Social interactions are essential to well-being. Just as you hope to continue socializing with friends, encourage those you care about to stay engaged. Check on the seniors in your life so you can note any changes

Remain vigilant – Monitor accounts and voice concerns. Watch for large withdrawals, unusual purchases, changes in wills, and bills going unpaid. As family members divide responsibilities to assist a loved one, set expectations and ground rules. Call 911 if physical danger is imminent.

Watch out for scams like these:

Imposter scams – Someone poses as a relative in urgent need of money for bail or medical care. Or they pretend to be the IRS, a computer technician or even a neighbor asking for money.
Winner scams – You get a phone call or email saying you’ve won a prize, but have to send money to claim it.
Romance scams – Con artists use social media or dating sites to charm people into sending money, often without meeting in person.

Be aware: 

  • Scammers trick caller ID so phone calls appear to come from a business or person you know. If a phone call sounds odd or you feel pressured, hang up.
  • They’re also skilled at making fraudulent emails look legitimate. Never click on links in emails, unless you are certain the email is from a trusted source. Call the person if you are unsure.
  • Never give personal information to people requesting it by email, text or phone, unless you initiated the contact.
  • Your bank, the IRS and the Social Security Administration will never call, text or email you asking for information such as your Social Security or account number.

Resources:

Don’t hesitate to talk to your banker. In addition to keeping tabs on current scams and resources, we want to help and protect our clients.

 
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