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Protecting Seniors from Exploitation

As the number of financial and elder abuse cases continues to rise, it is crucial for seniors and their families to be vigilant and proactive in protecting themselves from scams and exploitation. In 2021, there were 92,371 older victims of fraud resulting in $1.7 billion in losses. It is unfortunate that law enforcement often faces limitations in addressing these scams. This is primarily due to complexity and the difficulty in tracing funds once they are deposited into unverified accounts. Prevention and awareness remain key in safeguarding against financial exploitation and scams. To learn more about understanding elderly abuse, read our feature story, “Recognizing Elder Abuse and Fulfilling Fiduciary Duties”, which is liked here or can be found in the navigation menu on page 1.. It is important to note that scammers often target those who are less tech-savvy. If something seems suspicious, do not hesitate to speak up and seek assistance. By staying informed, proactive, and enlisting the help of trusted professionals, seniors can better protect themselves from exploitation and financial abuse. Remember, prevention is always better than cure when it comes to safeguarding your assets and well-being. May 9, 2024

Common Scams to be Aware Of:

  • Government Impersonation - Scammers call unsuspecting older adults and pretend to be from the IRS, Social Security Administration, or Medicare.

  • Sweepstakes scams - Be cautious of gift card and wire fraud scams to collect “winnings”. Remember, legitimate institutions will never ask you to transfer money to an unverified account.

  • Robocall scams - Never answer a phone call from an unknown number you are not expecting. If the call is important, the caller will leave a voicemail.

  • "Virus protection/Computer Tech Support” Ads - Technical support will never proactively seek you out to fix an issue.

  • Skimmer devices (commonly found at gas stations) - These devices can collect your card information and PIN codes, leading to counterfeit cards being created.

  • The “Grandparent Scam” - Scammers use high-pressure tactics that play on the emotions of their victims to get them to send funds as quickly as possible.

Preventative Tips to Avoid Common Scams:

  • Keep your funds at community banks, where personalized service and security are prioritized.

  • Use trusted security software on electronic devices.

  • Protect your accounts by using multi-factor authentication.

  • Use credit cards whenever possible, as they offer better protection against fraudulent transactions compared to debit cards. Consider alternative options if your credit score does not meet requirements, rather than keeping large sums in a checking account.

  • Utilize a TAP card for added security, as it is unique to your account.

  • When sending and receiving mail, opt for the post office for secure delivery and receipt.