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Shielding Seniors From Financial Scams

Shielding Seniors From Financial Scams

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

This article and video aim to help elderly individuals protect themselves from financial scams, especially those involving family members engaged in their financial affairs. It provides practical tips on identifying potential financial exploitation and implementing preventive measures.

Here’s an action plan with specific steps:

Stay Connected:

  • Stay close to your elderly family members and encourage them to engage socially to prevent isolation, which scammers often target. Help them discover local senior communities, clubs, or activities to build new connections and friendships.

Organize Documents:

  • Organize essential paperwork, such as wills, account details, debts, tax returns, and contacts for financial advisers. Establish a secure file or binder to centralize information and shred sensitive documents to prevent information leakage.

Secure Online Accounts:

  • Use unique and strong passwords for online accounts, enable two-factor authentication, and keep security software updated. Avoid sharing personal information over public Wi-Fi, and exercise caution with emails, refraining from clicking on suspicious links.

Manage Bill Payments:

  • Set up a bill payment schedule and explore automatic bill payment options. Consider becoming a cosigner for their accounts to provide ongoing financial support.

Protect Credit and Identity:

  • Please direct them to to review credit reports regularly. Educate them on identifying suspicious activities and taking necessary actions against identity theft.

Establish Legal Guardianship:

  • Discuss establishing power of attorney or guardianship early for future financial decision-making.

Block Unwanted Calls:

  • Register their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry to prevent sales scams. Use resources like or 888-382-1222 to minimize unwanted calls.
Protect yourself or your loved ones from potential financial exploitation


Retirement Planner Invitations: If you receive free consultations or investment advice invitations, be cautious of high-pressure sales tactics. Have a second pair of eyes to read through documents. Only provide personal information once you have a clear understanding of the offer.

Community-recommended Advisers: Even if your community recommends someone, it is important to investigate their background and credentials. Do not trust unquestioningly, and always verify before making investment decisions.

Complex Financial Products: Understanding the product clearly before investing in complex financial products. Seek a second opinion to ensure that you are making informed decisions.

Preventive Measures & Tips


Elder Financial abuse can also involve friends, relatives, neighbors, or caregivers. Potential signs of financial exploitation include large withdrawals from bank accounts, excessive credit card purchases, or irregularities in investment accounts.

Alert #1: Unusual Banking Activity: frequent checks made out to cash. Names added to a bank account or debit card. Money transfer, especially if your loved one has not done so before—unpaid bills.

  • You can obtain authorization from the older adult to monitor their bank accounts, checkbooks, and spending activities. Consider opening a joint checking account or obtaining power of attorney for access.

Alert #2: Changes to Legal Documents: If you notice any unexpected changes in names on legal documents – such as bank accounts, new power of attorney, wills, trusts, life insurance policies, or beneficiaries- address them with your parents. Watch out for a property transfer or a house title name change to someone recently involved in your loved one’s life.

  • You can support the elderly who live alone.  They are commonly a target of financial exploitation. Occasionally review the financial statements with the older adult. Keep the communication over money matters open between you and your loved ones. Consult their trusted attorney if needed.

Alert #3: Suspected Unauthorized Users: If you suspect a caregiver or family member is claiming rights using your loved one’s credit or debit card. The hired caregivers receive frequent gifts. Family members or caregivers are concerned more about your loved one’s assets than their health and want access to or feel entitled to them.

  • Contact the US Justice Department’s National Elder Fraud Hotline at 833-372-8311. For elders in nursing homes and assisted living communities, report to your local Adult Protective Services (APS).

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