Financial elder abuse can look a lot of ways: maxed-out credit cards, drained accounts, new unauthorized credit cards and loans, becoming a joint account holder in order to access their money directly. Scams can – and definitely do – happen to anyone. But the impact can be particularly devastating for our elders, and the crisis often unfolds without a victim even realizing it’s happening.
This topic is extremely important, and there are things you can do! We asked two of our experts to give us their best actionable advice to help protect the financial well-being of the people you love.
Allow us to introduce Carrie Valle, Director of Retail Banking Operations, and John Gilmore, Senior Director of Security; both are authorities on this subject with a combined experience of 55 years at Fremont Bank. So don’t despair – we’ve got your back. By following these practical steps, you’ll gain the confidence and knowledge to effectively protect your loved ones.
Stop financial abuse scams before they start
1. Remind your loved ones to never give out personal or account information to an unknown source – especially online and even if they seem trustworthy.
Common scam tactics involve impersonating the IRS or another government body, telling someone they’ve won a lottery or prize but need to give personal information to receive it, or pretending to be someone – even a relative – in crisis who needs money quickly.
2. Screen caregivers and check references thoroughly if your loved ones have support for their everyday needs.
Some scammers aren’t always in your spam email pretending to be a Nigerian prince. It’s possible they’re people who are in your loved one’s home, slowly building trust and then draining accounts or stealing information.
3. Set up and review recurring bills on automatic payments, any checks and monthly financial statements.
Automatic payments reduce the risk of checks being mishandled, lost or forged. Assist your loved one with checks and keep track of check usage to ensure none have been taken or misused. Reviewing statements together ensures you can both spot suspicious transactions or unusual activity.
4. Keep the lines of communication open.
Scams can and do happen to everyone! (Check out our post on social engineering to make sure you’re aware of risks, too.) Sharing the common scam tactics and finding simple ways to stay safe is something you can do together. And knowing they can – and should – consult with you if they have a concern, or before making a large purchase or home repair, is empowering and helpful for everyone involved.
5. Look to us!
At Fremont Bank, we are well-trained to recognize various forms of elder abuse and take the necessary steps to protect the personal safety and accounts of your loved ones. You’re in great hands with our knowledgeable and dedicated team, so if you have questions or any concern, contact us right away.
We know the security of your financial and personal information is a top priority for you – and it certainly is for us at Fremont Bank. Together, we can help protect you and your loved ones from financial abuse.
If you’re seeking further information on this topic, we recommend reading Elder abuse: How can you protect your loved ones?