Are your parents targets for scammers? While all scams are terrible, ones that target senior citizens can be the worst. Oftentimes the adult children are the ones left to evaluate and determine precisely what happened.
At Franklin Park, we understand the devastation that scams can put your loved one through and we aim to educate our residents about how to prevent possible scams. We’d like to share a few great ways to limit the financial damage of your loved one and prevent them from being scammed again!
Simply telling your loved one to hang up or rip up the letter won’t solve the problem. Educate them about red flags and possible scam tactics commonly used against senior citizens. Provide examples; You don’t have to pay for anything that’s free, right? The IRS won’t ask for your legal information because it’s already on file! Making sure your loved one knows the types of scams to look out for and understands how crucial this is to keep them safe.
Remind a loved one of what they taught you growing up: Don’t trust strangers! Especially those seeking money or private personal information. Inform them on the most common scams against seniors like Social Security and Medicare fraud. These tactics particularly prey on the elderly.
Victims are often too embarrassed or scared to tell a family member when they’re having a problem. They may have a fear of losing independence or feel that their loved ones are thinking they’re incapable and vulnerable. If you notice a change in your loved one's lifestyle, ask yourself why. For example, if a happy outgoing parent is suddenly withdrawn, something may be wrong. This might cause confusion and possibly frustration from feeling hopeless in their situation. Stay patient, supportive, and having a discussion about the issue may prove useful.
2. Scam Prevention
Your ability to help can be harder if your loved one is in denial and cannot accept the fact they are being scammed. If your loved one agrees you should eliminate all contact with the scammer and find out exactly what private information has been compromised. Check their credit reports to ensure accounts haven’t been opened in their name.
Consider changing the phone number, email address, or replace the landline with a cellphone, where scammers call less frequently. You could also put your loved one's addresses on opt-out lists so that legitimate vendors won’t send junk, and seniors will know whatever arrives is likely from scammers.
Set up online access to your loved one's bank and credit card accounts, this way you can watch over their transactions. You may also want to suggest assuming the Power of Attorney for your parent. Power of Attorney is a way for you to gain access to your loved one's accounts and have more control. Although, most parents are hesitant to relieve control of their financial assets to their children or friends as they can feel that they are losing their independence.
3. Solving the Issue
If your loved one has already been victimized by fraud, you should alert the local police department. Even if the investigation does not identify the perpetrator, documenting the fraud can help with disputing any account charges. Contact and inform your banks, credit card companies, and any other place your loved one has an account. Make sure to review credit card statements and check insurance policies for changes made to beneficiaries and account ownership. Showing empathy is always an essential step in helping your loved one move forward productively!
Knowing what to look for and how to prevent scams can save a lot of frustration, confusion, and money. Franklin Park knows these risks and wants to make sure that you and the senior in your life do too. Start educating your loved one and avoiding potential scams today!
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