How You Can Prevent Elder Financial Abuse

by Jonathan Smith

Fraud Operations Manager, CFE

7.5.2022
|
Articles

What Is Elder Financial Abuse? 

Elder financial abuse is when someone illegally accesses a senior’s funds, property, or assets to benefit themselves. 

How Common Is It? 

In our highly digital age, elders are being financially abused now more than ever. In fact, up to five million older Americansare abused every year. Elder financial fraud is so common that some are even calling it a public health crisis.

4 Common Elder Scams To Watch Out For: 

  • Government Imposter Scams: Scammers target older adults by impersonating
    officials from U.S. government agencies, such as the Social Security Administration (SSA), in order to get their personal or financial information.
  • Romance Scams: Involves fraudsters creating a fake profile on an online dating app or website to establish a close or romantic relationship with older adults to exploit their confidence and trust and get access to their finances.
  • Emergency Scams: Also known as “grandparent scams”, take place when scammers contact older adults and impersonate a grandchild, another relative, an attorney, emergency medical personnel, or a law enforcement official to trick victims into believing that a loved one is in an emergency situation and needs money sent immediately to resolve the situation.
  • Tech and Consumer Support Scams: These scammers impersonate well-known companies as
    tech and customer support representatives to falsely claim that a virus or other malware has
    compromised the victims’ computers. Scammers may request remote access to diagnose
    the alleged problem and will typically attempt to solicit payment for fraudulent software
    products and tech support services.

5 Tips To Prevent Elder Financial Abuse: 

Preventing Elder Financial Abuse - Infographic

 

1. Use Strong Passwords

Change your passwords every few months, and remember to use passwords with a combination of letters, numerals, and symbols that are difficult to guess. Tip: don't use your own name in your password for security reasons. 

2. Keep Your Passwords Private

Perpetrators of elder financial abuse may be close family or friends which is why it's important to keep your information safe by not sharing your passwords with anyone.

3. Report Missing Or Stolen Credit Or Debit Cards

Be sure to contact your financial institution the moment you notice that any of your account information or cards are missing. They can freeze your account and put an alert on usage to prevent a fraudster from taking any of your money. 

4. Don't Let Anyone Use Any Of Your Mobile Devices

Information can be stolen from computers by using saved passwords or through more advanced methods, such as a computer virus. To prevent your information from being taken advantage of, make sure you are the only person who uses your mobile devices. 

5. Be Cautious When Using Public Internet Connections

Only use websites that start with “https://” because this indicates that you are on a secure site.

Looking For More Fraud Prevention Tools?   

Coastal has the tools to help arm yourself with resources to combat identity theft and fraud.

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1. According to www.ncoa.org, 2021.