Financial Scams and the Senior, Care Needed! posted on: 07-07-2009

Financial scams involving seniors have grown exponentially over the past several years. These scams come via postal mail, unsolicited telephone calls, and sometimes even through the Internet. The scam artists tend to prey on the unsuspecting and many have found the seniors to be prime targets. The reason that the elderly end up being the targets of these scams could be that they get confused more easily or have a more trusting nature than other sectors of society.

The scam artists glean personal information from the unsuspecting victims and use it against them by depleting bank accounts and racking up immense credit card debts. The scammers will pose as bank employees, credit card representatives, or even hosts of some fictitious contest. People fall victim to these scams because, most of the time, the scammers sound so convincing.

Family members and senior care providers who share the responsibility of overseeing the finances of elderly loved ones should pay close attention to transactions being posted on their bank statements and credit card statements. Additionally, they should also instruct their elderly loved ones on how to handle these type of scamming situations, should they arise. Here are some tips that senior care providers and family members can follow to ensure the integrity of their elderly loved one’s financial information.

  • If the senior loved one is an Internet user, being able to verify that a particular website encrypts its information is imperative. This means that the website codes personal information in a way that hackers will not be able to read it, should they attempt to steal it. Credit card, bank account, and Social Security numbers are all favorite targets of online scammers. The way to verify this is to look for a symbol of a padlock on the bottom or top address bar of the open screen. This icon is usually gold in color, but can vary.
  • Let them know never to confirm any personal information or repeat any personal information via a telephone call. One of the easiest ways that scam artists get personal account information is to call the person and ask for verification over the telephone while posing as another party. A reputable financial institution will never ask you to confirm your account number during a telephone call. Further, any reputable charitable organization will have literature that they can send through postal mail, without having to solicit donations over the telephone.
  • Let them know to report any suspicious activity such as solicitation calls or verification calls to their financial institutions. The institutions may already be aware of the situation, but if they aren’t, this can aide them in helping their other customers avoid being scammed by the current ploy that is circulating.

Senior care providers don’t just have a responsibilty for the health of the client or loved one, they also have to watch out for anything that can have a negative impact on the senior’s lifestyle.