If you are the child of an aging parent, you may have concerns about a loved one that has the potential to be the target of fraudulent scams. In fact, in many scams, a senior in your life may be victimized more than any other age group of people you know. Victims of scammers (and their loved ones) are often faced with a financial mess to clean up.
The increasing incidents of senior fraud are putting many older adults on thin ice, impending to strip them of their independence, their belongings, and most importantly their trust. While all scams are terrible, Brickmont Assisted Living takes senior scams very seriously and would like to inform residents on four ways that can help your loved one avoid scams.
1. Keep in Contact
When you have an aging parent, it’s important to call or make visits to their home regularly. You don’t want them to be left alone, and a visit from you will bring them extreme joy! Remember, you will be in their shoes one day.
Be suspicious of new friends, especially if your loved one is acting socially distant; you should know if the senior of your life is behaving differently. A change in behavior could mean someone is influencing the senior's thought process. Be nosy! Criminals are especially enamored of isolated and infirm seniors. In this case, be wary of any new “best friends” trying to coax the senior in your life that they mean no harm.
2. Talk with Them
Don’t hesitate to sit down with your loved one to have a serious talk about the risks that exist in the world we live in now when it comes to scams. If they feel insulted or like the discussion is threatening their independence, try to assure them you are looking out for their best interests.
Tell them the details of the known scams out there, and encourage them to always be suspicious, for example, they shouldn’t have a grandchild that just randomly starts going to jail and needs bond money, right? Bring up that your loved one should never release any of their personal information to anyone, especially someone claiming to be an IRS representative. Remind them not to trust strangers as they taught you as a kid.
3. Oversee Accounts
Arrange for account oversight or power of attorney over your loved one's account. Set up a way to access your loved one's bank and credit card accounts to watch over their transactions, just in case anything goes wrong. Once you acquire this information, you can consistently monitor their bank and investment account activity and take immediate action if you notice suspicious activity.
Opt your loved one out of commercial propositions so that non accredited companies won’t contact them. Put the senior of your life on the do not call registry, which will decrease the telemarketing calls, but will not eliminate them. A "do not call" list may be the best option because many seniors have kept their number for an extended amount of time and wouldn’t want to have to get a new one.
4. Picking Up the Pieces
Sometimes despite being educated and prepared, scams can still find a way to ruin a senior’s life. If you discover a scammer of any kind has victimized your loved one, the first thing you should do is notify the local Police Department. Regardless of whether or not a perpetrator is caught, documenting the fraud can help dispute any faulty charges made to a loved one's accounts.
Rummage through account statements and review any changes made to account ownership and beneficiaries. Being angry at your loved one can make it harder to figure out how the scam happened, they may feel even more victimized and shut down communication with you. Showing support and empathy is an important step to move forward constructively!
Are you interested in learning more about Brickmont Assisted Living? Please visit our website today!