In today’s day and age, scammers are well rehearsed, incredibly convincing, and prey on people of all ages. But they most commonly target older adults. According to National Adult Protective Services, 1 out of 9 seniors experiences financial exploitation but only 1 in 44 will ever report it.
According to the United States Department of Justice, Elder Fraud is defined as “an act targeting older adults in which attempts are made to deceive with promises of goods, services, or financial benefits that do not exist, were never intended to be provided, or were misrepresented. Financial exploitation is the illegal or improper use of an older adult’s funds or property.”
Nevertheless, how can you tell if someone you love is being financially abused?
How to Spot Elder Fraud
The Federal Trade Comision (FTC) advises to look for sudden changes in the older person’s financial situation, such as:
Suspicious changes in wills or powers of attorney – Out of the blue, your grandfather wills all of his belongings to his new nurse.
Financial activity the person couldn’t have done herself – You discover repeated ATM withdrawals from your bedridden mother’s bank account.
Bills not being paid – When visiting a neighbor, you see mail piling up on his desk. Maybe his caregiver is using his money for something other than paying bills.
Significant withdrawals or unusual purchases – You notice charges for fancy electronics on your thrifty aunt’s credit card bill.
If you see these signs and you are worried that someone is misusing a loved one’s personal information, the FTC explains what steps to take to report Elder Fraud.
How to Take Action
As your credit union, our focus is your financial well-being and peace of mind. We want to help empower you to protect yourself and your loved ones. Therefore, to avoid Elder Fraud from the root, IDB Global Federal Credit Union has collaborated with the MD/DC Credit Union Association to offer the Senior Safeguard Training to all our members, free of charge. Senior Safeguard provides interactive, self-paced training to help you develop the knowledge and skills needed to help members and their loved ones make informed, responsible financial decisions.
Some of the topics covered in the Senior Safeguard education modules include:
Planning for a Caregiver
Becoming a Caregiver
Expectations of a Financial Caregiver
Preventing Elder Fraud
For the latest information on frauds and scams, visit the IDB Global Federal Credit Union online Fraud Center at our website. And as always, if you have any questions about this or other topics, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here for you.