Whenever I see or hear about a scam directed toward the elderly, my first thought is, “Get a life, people!” Don’t these thugs have anything better to do than steal from the elderly? And just how would they feel if someone did that to their grandma or grandpa!?! No amount of indignation is going to put a stop to it, though. Financial exploitation of older adults has been going on in some form or another almost since the beginning of time.
Knowing the dangers are out there, is the first step in protecting your elders from this form of elder abuse. Knowing it can happen to you or your senior loved one is the next important step you must take. Once you have that fact settled in your mind you need to take action…precautions and safeguards to prevent and greatly reduce the chances of becoming a victim.
- Set all payments up on autopay for your senior.
- Make sure you have access to these accounts so that you can change the passwords every 60 to 90 days to prevent the accounts from being hacked into. NOTE: Make sure you keep a physical file (handwritten) of current passwords so that they can be accessed easily and quickly.
- If your senior is suffering from any sort of dementia, make sure to check their phone records for calls from people who might be soliciting money.
- Talk to your loved one about the ‘art’ of scamming. Make sure they know what to look and listen for, i.e. how to spot a scammer.
- If YOU are the senior, make sure you stay up to date on what to look and listen for.
- Place a NO SOLICITING and NO SELLING signs on the outside of the house apartment your senior lives in.
- If they live in a retirement community or assisted living facility, take a regular inventory of their personal belongings and make sure everything is clearly labeled as theirs—indelibly.
- Ask a neighbor or neighbors to report any strangers who come to visit your senior loved one.
- Check the balance on credit card statements and bank accounts at least twice a week to check for hacking and theft.
The years that have been described as ‘golden’ aren’t always that, for seniors. Just ask them—they will tell you that between the physical challenges of growing old, the angst and fear of being taken advantage of, and the worry of outliving their money makes it harder than it should be. But by putting these safeguards in place we can make the golden years a lot brighter for the people we love.
By Darla Nobel