5 Tips For Protecting Older Loved Ones From Scams
by Joyce Warner
According to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, “older Americans lose a staggering $2.9 billion a year to an ever-growing array of financial exploitation schemes and scams.” Here are five tips to help your older loved ones stay safe from scams.
- Keep abreast of the commons scams being used and share them with your loved so they are aware. Check out this list of common scams from the FBI. Also, a whole new set of scams is on the rise in response to the current pandemic. Check out AARP’s list of new scams related to COVID-19.
- Speed is the scammers’ top weapon, trying to get your loved one to make a rash decision by playing on their anxiety. Encourage the seniors in your life to pause, collect the name and number of the person calling, and have them check in with a trusted friend or family member to determine whether the request is legitimate. Remind love ones to never give out social security numbers, passwords, banking information, etc. to someone who contacts them out of the blue.
- Computer users should be especially careful of ever more sophisticated “phishing” attempts where scammers try to trick you into giving personal information by text or email. The visual look of these fraudulent solicitations can look very similar to the real business they are emulating. Check out these tips from the Federal Trade Commission on recognizing and avoiding phishing scams.
- Talk to your loved ones about setting up some additional safeguards, for example bank alerts for withdrawals over a certain amount, putting their phone number on the do not call list, unsubscribing from unwanted solicitations, and marking certain emails as spam to reduce the chances of clicking on something unwanted.
- If your loved one does fall victim to a scam, let them know they are not alone and should not be embarrassed. By working with a loved one to report the scam, they are doing a public service and can help prevent other seniors from being targeted. If you believe you or someone you know may have been a victim of elder fraud, contact your local FBI field office or submit a tip online. You can also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) was established by Congress in 2000 and is overseen by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. FLTCIP also has a resource page that includes the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) guide to purchasing long-term care insurance and a series of webinars on healthy aging presented by Harvard Medical School.
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