National Council on Aging
Seniors have become the target of financial scams around the country. Many scammers believe that older adults have a greater amount of money in their bank accounts. Scams and abuse range from Medicare fraud to financial abuse by a loved one.
Protect yourself from scams, fraud, or abuse by following these tips:
• Be aware you are at risk from strangers – and those closest to you.
• Don’t isolate yourself – stay involved.
• Always tell solicitors: “I never buy from (or give to) anyone who calls or visits me unannounced. Send me something in writing.”
• Shred all receipts with your credit card number.
• Sign up for the “Do Not Call” list and take yourself off multiple mailing lists.
• Use direct deposit for benefit checks to prevent checks from being stolen from your mailbox.
• Never give credit card, banking, Social Security, Medicare, or other personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call.
• Be skeptical of all unsolicited offers and thoroughly do your research.
It’s suggested that caregivers watch for signs that may suggest an older adult has been a victim of fraud or abuse. Some of these signs may include: unusual recent changes in the person’s financial accounts, atypical withdrawals, new person(s) added on an account, or if the senior suddenly appears confused, unkempt, and/or afraid. If the senior has adequate income but utility, rent, mortgage, or other essential bills are unpaid it may be a sign of abuse or fraud. It isn’t unusual for a caregiver or other individual that has committed the crime to block access to a senior.
Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to report financial exploitation. Immediately call your bank/credit card company, cancel any debit or credit cards linked to the account, and reset your personal identification numbers.
If you have been a victim of abuse or fraud, please call Adult Protective Services at 1-800-677-1116.