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How can I protect a senior parent or loved one from financial fraud?

If you have a senior parent or loved one, you can protect him or her from financial fraud in the following ways:
  • Have your loved one check his or her direct deposit account frequently.
  • Put his or her phone number on the do-not-call list (1-888-382-1222).
  • Warn your loved one that banks do not call and ask for account numbers or other financial information for “verification” purposes. If unsure, a good response is to ask for the caller’s name and number and call him back.
  • Ignore direct mail offers.
  • Ignore lottery or contest-winning notifications.
  • Remind your loved one to keep track of which bills he or she has paid and not to pay bills that don’t seem legitimate.
  • Inform your loved one that there are Medicare drug card scams and that legitimate plans are not sold over the phone or door-to-door. Nor do legitimate plans require financial information as part of the application process. Call Medicare directly to get a list of approved plans (1-800-Medicare).
  • Talk about powers of attorney early, when everyone is in a position to make lucid, clear decisions. All too often, predators con seniors into signing over their decision-making rights via a power of attorney and then deplete the senior’s financial assets. Beware. Sadly, these predators can be family members.
  • If your loved one has been contacted about a reverse mortgage opportunity, contact the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) to ensure that the opportunity is not a scam.
  • It’s always better to be proactive than reactive. Talk candidly with your loved one about current and future needs. Research available options so that he or she is not in a position that would force a bad decision.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.