As technology evolves, scammers find more ways to exploit people financially. Many of us have developed a sense of when someone is being deceitful and can avoid scamming situations. Our elderly parents aren’t always as up-to-date on the latest scams or ways to prevent them. Protecting those you love from scams can seem like a daunting task, but there are clear steps that can be taken to help avoid financial catastrophe.
Be Aware of the Latest Scamming and Fraud Techniques
Scammers are constantly evolving. There are thousands of ways people are coerced out of money or sensitive information. Here is a list of many scams and how they can be avoided. In order to avoid falling victim, it is vital to research current cons regularly.
Some of the most common scams include posing as a loved one in need of money, pretending to be a police officer needing immediate payment to avoid jail time, or the IRS requiring money. No reputable company will demand payment be made over the phone or by email at that moment. If they don’t let you call back at a later time without threats, it is a scam.
Email, social media, and phone calls are the most common modes of communication regarding fraud. Staying vigilant in knowing the latest techniques is vital to protecting those you love.
Spend Time With Your Elderly Parents
Loneliness is directly connected to elderly individuals falling victim to scams. The lonelier the individual, the more likely they are to seek validation. Sometimes, they connect with people who would take advantage of them.
Even short, regular phone calls can make the difference between protecting your loved ones or leaving them more vulnerable to these attacks. Communication also increases the likelihood that someone else can spot threats of fraud before damage is done. Letters, phone calls, visits, and care packages are all great ways to connect with your parents while living in a senior living community.
Review Financial Statements Often
Diligent checking of bank statements is one of the best ways to spot ongoing financial fraud or abuse. As parents age, it becomes more challenging to manage all facets of life. Reviewing financial records together provides an additional set of eyes that can help recognize scams much faster.
Comparing bills to bank statements is an additional step many families make. This can help ensure that the payments are getting to the correct institutions rather than going to a scammer posing as a legitimate company to whom money may be owed.
Discuss Safety Guidelines That May Be Unfamiliar
In generations past, it was common practice to trust people until they proved themselves untrustworthy. Unfortunately, this is no longer safe. With the rise of the internet, it is vital to discuss the importance of verifying information with your loved ones. Many scammers will use people’s trust to their advantage, including posing as other people.
Many individuals give financial or other sensitive information to who they believe are loved ones in need. If someone initiates contact by saying they are a grandchild, niece, nephew, neighbor, or other loved one asking for money, it is crucial to ask questions and look for flaws in their story. Ideally, make a phone call to verify that these individuals are who they say they are before sending any sensitive information or money.
The same is true for other modes of communication. Many scammers will use the elderly’s good faith to their advantage. Before giving out any information over the phone, tell the caller you will phone them back. Use the information provided in billing statements or other official modes of communication to re-initiate the contact. No reputable professional looking for payment will insist that you not call back. Doing so should be an immediate red flag, and you should end the call immediately.
Know Who to Call if You Suspect a Problem
There are many organizations ready to help with these situations within the North Carolina community. Police departments have dedicated departments for fraud.
Financial institutions also have scam and fraud departments. If anything is amiss, contact your bank to find out their next steps. They can immediately freeze the account and work with you to get your money back if they can.
Having an arsenal of people on your side is vital in repairing damage from scams or fraud.
Caring for an elderly parent can be a rewarding experience. Knowing how to help keep them safe is one vital step in ensuring the last years of their lives are filled with happiness and love for years to come.
Heritage Woods is an independent and assisted senior living community. Our staff is trained to the highest standards to ensure the health and safety of each of our residents. We believe that everyone deserves a vibrant life, so we work tirelessly to ensure that each community member truly feels at home.