Elderly Financial Abuse
American seniors have historically been late adopters when it comes to technology. According to a Pew Research Center, almost 90% of seniors with a college degree use the internet. With more and more mature Americans getting involved in the online community, the amount of scams targeting elders is ever on the rise.
People who grew up in the 1950s and earlier, are more likely to be polite and are more susceptible to scams since con artists exploit these traits. And so they become targets for scams to rip them off and pickpocket their nest eggs, or sell them fake medical products or outrageously high yield retirement funds etc.
Seniors are losing about $36 billion ever year due to fraud and financial abuse, which is a twelve times increase on what was previously reported. All told some 44 million American elders are victims of abuse, much of it financial in nature.
Fortunately, the FBI has issued counter-measures for your protection and steps that can be taken to avoid becoming the prey of those looking to help themselves to your hard earned money.
Here some important things for your guidance. A full list of precautions can be found here: https://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/seniors
1. Never give out financial information, your Social Security number, or your Medicare number over the phone unless you initiated the call.
2. Beware of pushy marketers–don’t hesitate to take down their contact information and do your due diligence. Just say no.
3. Check the fine print when ordering products online or from TV ads. Many times the shipping and handling charges can be as much as the actual product you are ordering.
4. Consult someone you trust if you’re feeling uncertain about requests for money or personal information. Don’t provide any personal information over the phone.
5. Never send money today for the promise of more money later.
6. Don’t sign on the dotted line for any complex investments you don’t understand.
7. Don’t give away power of attorney to anyone unless family members and personal advisors such as lawyers, accountants and financial planners have reviewed the documents.
8. Use “caller ID” features on your phone. If it’s a toll-free number you don’t recognize, don’t pick it up.
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