Seniors can be particularly prone to scams that threaten their finances. Seniors are often targeted because they have nest eggs and, in many cases, they are too proud or embarrassed to report the fraud. Sometimes, the elderly hesitate to report financial fraud because they are concerned their relatives might see it as a sign of declining mental capacity. Silence allows scams to flourish so it is best to be proactive and take some steps to safeguard them from identity theft and financial fraud.
Have A Discussion About Recognizing Scams
One of the best things that you can do to help your loved one avoid identity theft and financial fraud is to have a discussion with them about recognizing the signs of a scam. Take the time to explain why he or she should never give a credit card number by email or over the phone in response to a query. Discuss different ways that a scammer may try to obtain their personal information, such as calling about an anti-aging product then requiring credit card information to proceed. You cannot be around your relative constantly, so they will need to be vigilant as well.
Help Them Shred Financial Documents
There are many reports of caregivers using the personal or financial information of someone that they are caring for in order to steal their identity. It is best to keep this information away from prying eyes by destroying any financial document that is no longer needed. If you can, visit your elderly relative regularly and help them shred any mail with their personal information on it. You can also show them how to view their account activity online and they may choose to opt out of paper statements altogether.
Review Accounts For Suspicious Activity
One of the first indicators of identity theft is suspicious activity occurring on a financial account. All accounts should undergo a regular review to ensure that no one is using the account fraudulently and undetected. Credit card statements should be examined carefully for larger than normal purchase amounts or payments to unknown companies. Their credit report should also be reviewed for any accounts that have been opened in their name without their knowledge. Every consumer is entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus by law, so it will not cost them anything to check their credit report.
Do you have any tips to help seniors avoid identity theft? Share them with our readers.
Join our newsletter
Subscribe to get the latest "Engineer Your Finances" content via email.