Elderly adults may be easily targeted by scammers — and sometimes they’re manipulated by people they know and trust. Victims may lose money to crooks or transfer assets without even realizing what happened. According to a report by True Link Financial, an estimated $36.5 billion is lost to victims of elder financial abuse each year.
The following tips can help protect your loved one:
Talk with your family member about naming a power of attorney and writing a will that spells out their future financial wishes. Doing so can prevent unauthorized people from gaining access to an elderly person’s money.
Those who live alone may be at a higher risk for theft or falling victim to a schemer posing as a friend.
Join the Do Not Call Registry
Add your loved one’s landline and cell number to the list so they don’t receive unsolicited telemarketing calls. Visit donotcall.gov to sign up.
Consider a camera system
Doorbell and web cameras are easy to install and don’t cost a lot. Keeping the camera in sight of visitors will make them think twice about taking something from the home. Consider using a hidden “nanny” cam to keep visitors honest.
Keep financial information secure
Make sure that checkbooks, banking statements, credit cards and other financial information sources are put away instead of out in the open. Use direct deposit for all check payments including Social Security and tax refunds.
Help prevent these crimes by starting a conversation about the dangers and encouraging seniors to speak up if they notice any red flags. Regular financial checkups with a trusted professional can help catch suspicious activity. At Macatawa Bank, we can help create a plan to protect elderly adults’ assets while carrying out their wishes. Fill out the form below to request a consultation with a financial advisor.