Last week’s column discussed telephone fraudsters and other senior scams to watch out for, especially this time of year. Unfortunately, older individuals are easy targets because we’re lonely and miss the constant companionship we enjoyed at work. Or we’re lonely because the spouse has passed and the adult children have busy lives. How to Spot Financial Elder Abuse
That leaves seniors open to a seemingly pleasant, trustworthy, and slick professionals who use the telephone in a friendly and engaging manner and traps us with kind words and attention. Scammers are smart and well-trained. They know exactly what to say to get you to listen and trust them.
Financial abuse is rampant, both online and on the telephone, and even via the mail. Since consumers shop via the computer, a lot of our private and personal information is accessible without us knowing about it.
The most favorable way to keep your money, credit cards, and other assets safe is to monitor the financial activity very closely. If you don’t bank online, have your adult child or a trusted family member to open an online account with your permission. Then they can keep tabs to see what goes out of the account. But obviously, you need to trust them very much before doing this step.
Here are other ways to stay safe and secure, ones that reduce the chances of financial abuse.
The FBI says if you are age 60 or older-and especially if you are an older woman living alone-you may be a special target of people who sell bogus products and services by telephone. Telemarketing scams often involve offers of free prizes, low-cost vitamins and healthcare products, and inexpensive vacations.
If you suspect you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact the Adult Protective Services in your area, call the Eldercare Locator, a government-sponsored national resource line, at 1-800-677-1116, or visit their website at www.eldercare.gov.
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