Protect yourself from fraud and exploitation
Remember - it’s never too late to seek help.
Seniors are disproportionately victims of fraud and exploitation
by strangers, caregivers, and even family members. Taking these simple steps
can help you protect yourself from becoming a victim.
- Only set up a joint account with a most trusted individual.
- Don’t give private information to strangers.
- Protect your financial and personal information.
How to protect yourself
- Limit phone calls from strangers:
Never provide personal information to strangers, regardless
of who they claim to be or where they claim to be calling from.
- Don’t accept calls from people you don’t know. Use caller
ID, and don’t answer if you don’t recognize the number.
- Put your phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry by
calling 888-382-1222 or online at donotcall.gov.
- Get an unlisted phone number if necessary.
Never wire money to strangers under any circumstances.
Review your financial statements. Immediately contact your financial institution, credit card issuer, or other provider if you see charges you do not recognize.
Monitor your credit report at least annually. You can get
one report from each of the three bureaus for free each year. Visit
annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228 (toll free) to get yours.
Consider enlisting a trusted family member or reputable
bill-paying service. Contact your local Area
Agency on Aging for help with routine payments.
Execute a power of attorney only if you have someone you
trust completely, and only do so after consulting with an attorney. Be sure to
ask about gifting clauses, and be sure to limit the power you give your
selected individual. Only grant authority that is absolutely necessary.
Never convey or quitclaim an interest in real estate without
consulting an attorney.
Shred all discarded paperwork and credit card offers with a
Remember: you can’t win a contest you didn’t enter.
What can make someone vulnerable?
- Recently losing a spouse or partner.
- Social isolation, depression, or loneliness.
- Being dependent on someone for care, like shopping, transportation, and hygiene
- Being financial responsible for an adult child, grandchild, or other family member.
- A recent change in health.
- Feeling overwhelmed managing money.
- Making frequent money mistakes
- Regularly running out of money
- Willingness to listen to telemarketing or other calls from unknown people, attend commercial “free lunch” seminars, or investigate work-at-home opportunities or sweepstakes.
- Experiencing pressure from children, caregivers, or others to share money or change will.