Dear Savvy Senior,
Can you accommodate some tips on how to assure seniors from banking scams? My 76-year-old aunt was afresh swindled out of $25,000 and I appetite to accomplish abiding my own mother is protected.
Financial scams that ambition the aged abide to be a huge botheration in the U.S. In fact, it’s estimated 1 in 5 Americans earlier than 65 are scammed out of almost $36 billion every year. Here are some tips that can advice you atom a scam.
Recognize a betray
Spotting a betray or a con artisan is not consistently easy. They ambit from adumbral banking admiral to slick-talking telemarketers to able caregivers and relatives.
The best accepted scams targeting seniors today appear in the anatomy of catchy and artful telemarketing calls, email and internet scams, free-lunch seminars affairs arguable banking articles and amaranthine clutter mail peddling chargeless vacation packages, sweepstakes, affected alms fundraisers and more. And, of course, there’s the advancing botheration of character theft, Medicare and Social Security fraud, door-to-door scams and acclaim agenda theft.
The best way to atom a betray is to advice your mom administer her finances, or at atomic adviser her accounts. Reviewing her banking statements anniversary ages can active you to ambiguous checks, acclaim agenda accuse or ample withdrawals. Or, accede a annual like EverSafe.com, which will automatically adviser your mom’s accounts, clue apprehensive action and active you back it detects a problem.
Also, apprehension if her spending habits accept changed, if she has complained about actuality abbreviate of money afresh or has aback become backstairs or arresting about her finances. All these may be signs of trouble.
Protect your mom
The best able way to advice assure your mom is to active her to the altered affectionate of scams activity on today. To advice you with this, the National Council on Aging has a annual of the top 10 banking scams targeting seniors at NCOA.org. Additionally see AARP’s Artifice Watch Network at AARP.org/money/scams-fraud and assurance up to accept chargeless betray active emails from the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov/scams.
Some added tips to assure her accommodate reminding your mom to never accord out her claimed information, Social Security cardinal or banking advice unless she accomplished the acquaintance and knows the institution.
Also, see if your mom would be accommodating to let you array her mail afore she opens it, so you can edger out the junk. To abate the clutter mail and/or email she gets, use the Direct Marketing Association customer opt-out annual at DMAchoice.org. And to stop acclaim agenda and allowance offers, use the Customer Acclaim Reporting Industry opt-out annual at OptOutPrescreen.com or alarm 888-567-8688 – they will ask for your mom’s Social Security cardinal and date of birth.
You should additionally annals your mom’s home and cellphone numbers on the National Do Not Alarm Registry (DoNotCall.gov, 888-382-1222) to abate telemarketers. To stop robocall scams on her landline buzz use Nomorobo (Nomorobo.com), and if she uses a smartphone, use the chargeless app Hiya (Hiya.com). You should additionally get a chargeless archetype of her acclaim address at AnnualCreditReport.com to accomplish abiding she isn’t a victim of character theft.
If you doubtable your mom has gotten scammed, address it to her bounded police, her coffer (if money has been taken from her account) and her state’s Adult Protective Services bureau that investigates letters of aged banking abuse. Alarm the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 to get the bureau acquaintance cardinal in her area.
Send your chief questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or appointment SavvySenior.org. Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today appearance and columnist of “The Savvy Senior” book.
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