According to a study conducted by cybersecurity research company Comparitech, more than 369,000 incidents of elder fraud are reported to authorities every year and are responsible for an estimated $4.84 billion in losses. However, these numbers are considered to be conservative because many incidents go unreported.
Most elder fraud experts believe that these crimes can be prevented through careful observation by family members and taking these five steps:
1. Stay involved in their life.
Many seniors feel lonely and isolated, which makes them vulnerable to fraudsters. By having a loved one stay engaged in their lives, seniors are much less likely to respond to contact from people they don’t know, and they’re more likely to tell you about any contact and interaction that has happened.
2. Watch their bank statements.
Monthly bank statements are complicated for many seniors, and they disregard them because of it. However, by checking their monthly statement, you can spot suspicious activity. Look for large withdrawals and any unusual ATM activity, particularly if the senior isn’t mobile. You can check statements monthly on the bank’s app or website.
3. Be aware of new friends and romantic interests.
A lonely senior is an excellent target for criminals. Of course, not all new friends are fraudsters but watch for things like their friend taking them to the bank or helping them with financial or estate planning.
Romance scams also continue to be on the rise. You may be unaware of what’s happening since seniors are often shy or uncomfortable discussing romance in their lives. Stay alert and watch what’s happening in your senior’s life – you can often spot observable signs of a new romantic relationship.
4. Be aware of people involved in your loved one’s finances.
Sadly, elder fraud is often committed by close friends or family members. Because of the trust they’ve established