Unfortunately, millions of older adults fall prey to financial abuse each year. Whether it’s fraud, a scam, or being sold unnecessary products or services, financial abuse strips our loved ones of their assets, their independence, and their trust.
Why do elders face a greater risk?
- Generally speaking, seniors have more discretionary income, making them a prime target.
- More people are retiring earlier and living longer. This means that seniors are more often alone and have the time to read mail, talk on the phone, or respond to online offers.
- Elders have a tendency to be more trusting, less mobile, and have less technical and digital literacy – making them an easier target.
What are some warning signs to look out for?
- There are unusual, or recent changes to your loved one’s personal accounts. This can include unusual withdrawals, another person added, or a charge from a service provider outside their usual monthly bill amounts.
- Utility bills, or rent and mortgage bills are unpaid, even though they have adequate income.
- There are an abundance of sweepstakes mailings, magazine subscriptions, or “free gifts” being addressed to them.
How can you protect your senior?
- Talk to your loved one about scams and fraud. Keep up to date on the latest schemes and helped educate them on the danger.
- Make sure all receipts with their credit card number are shredded.
- Review their accounts each month to ensure there’s no suspicious activity.
- Sign them up for the “Do Not Call” list.
- Sign them up for direct deposit for benefit cheques to prevent them from being stolen from the mailbox.
- Teach them to never give out their banking info, credit card, or SIN number over the phone unless they initiated the call.
While it can be frightening to think of the myriad of ways your loved one can be targeted, with a little vigilance, and by taking the time to educate your senior on the dangers, you can help prevent them from being a victim of this kind of elder abuse.
Have your own techniques for helping prevent the financial abuse of your senior? Let us know in the comments.