Financial scams targeting seniors are becoming more and more common.  Seniors can become targets if they are too trusting, have retirement nest eggs, and live alone. Millions of elderly Americans fall prey to financial scams annually, and sadly 90% are committed by their own family members – usually an adult child.

According to law enforcement officials, those fraudulent activities commonly involve intimidation, threats, physical violence, and even withholding essential caregiving services. Non-relative financial fraudsters also prey on seniors with tactics like door-to-door, “pay-for-service” scams, email or “snail mail” schemes, and random phone calls soliciting donations for fake charities. If you have a senior loved one that you are looking after, the financial threat posed to them is quite real. Here are some proven ways to help your loved one avoid financial scams targeting seniors.

Know the Signs

Financial scams targeting seniors come in many forms, so beware of the classic signs associated with all of them. When you’re in your elderly loved one’s home, look for:

  • Stacks of unopened mail lying about with magazine subscription bills, sweepstakes notifications, boxes with “free” gifts, and other suspicious solicitations
  • Important household bills not getting paid like the mortgage, medical bills, utilities and cable TV even though you know the senior has enough monthly income
  • Unusual withdrawals from their bank account (If you have access), new names (including family members) on their account, or frequent ATM and/or credit card use
  • A new caregiver, including a family member, is trying to block your access to them
  • Lack of food or toiletries in their home
  • They suddenly start acting afraid, confused, or look uncharacteristically unkept

Keep Them Safe

According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA; www.ncoa.org), there are several reliable ways to give you and your senior loved one peace-of-mind while warding off financial scammers, such as:

Enrolling Them in the National “Do Not Call” List

Putting them on this list should block most phone scam artists.

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