Those who commit elder fraud can be loved ones – family members, friends or caregivers – or they can be complete strangers. Below are some tips on how to protect yourself or someone you know:
Remember the red flags of fraud.
- An unsolicited phone call, e-mail or other request to pay a large amount of money before you receive the goods or services.
- An unexpected e-mail or call requesting your bank account number, perhaps one asking for the information printed on the bottom of your checks.
- An offer which seems too good to be true, like an investment “guaranteeing” a return way above the competition.
- Someone expressing a new or unusual interest in your finances.
- Pressure to send funds quickly by wire transfer.
- The other party insists on secrecy.
Research any new financial advisor before investing money or paying for services.
Make sure the advisor is properly registered or licensed and has a clean record.
Be careful who you give the legal authority to access or manage your money.
You may decide to use a Power of Attorney to help you make financial decisions and transact business for you. An attorney can help you decide the right type of POA for your needs. Make sure your financial institution can work with the POA document you intend to use.
Protect your personal information.
NEVER provide social security numbers, bank account information, PINS, passwords or other sensitive information to an unsolicited call, fax, e-mail or text message.
Sign up for direct deposit.
Direct deposit into your bank account is the safest and quickest way to receive money or payments such as tax refunds or pension payments. Confirm with your bank that the deposits have come in and are for the correct amount.
Monitor credit card bills and bank statements.
Review your bills and statements as soon as they arrive and report unauthorized purchases or transactions regardless of size.
Immediately report any fraud or theft to someone you trust as well as the proper authorities.
Quickly reporting the issue will be the only opportunity you have to recover some or all of the loss.
Learn more about common frauds and how to respond to them.
Staying up on what is going on with financial fraud will help protect you from becoming a victim. The following link is to an FBI site with information on fraud. FBI Scam Information