Taken from July 7th’s Tuesdays with Tom. Edited for length and clarity. Photo by Andrea Piacquadiol on Pexels
Frauds and scams against the elderly is a huge problem. It is a nearly 40-billion dollar-a-year industry in our country alone. We want to give you five tips that can help you protect your seniors or the seniors you care for from fraud.
Tip 1: Learn About Elder Fraud
Research the different frauds that are out there and are common against the elderly. A good way to do this is to go online to the National Council on Aging. They’ve got a Top 10 Scams list that they keep current.
Tip 2: Talk About Finances with Your Elderly Person
We know if you’re in assisted living, you’re probably not going to do this with your residents. But you can have their responsible person know that they should be in close watch of what’s going on with the elderly person’s finances.
It’s important to check for different kinds of transactions online, especially for types of purchases that might be red flags. And, if they have one, ask permission to skim through their emails, as well as their regular mail.
Tip 3: Be a Trusted Advisor to Them
Let them know that they can come to you without any form of retribution or chastising. They can come to you safely if they’re concerned that they may have been scammed.
Don’t judge them.
Your goal is to protect them, so do that. The best way to do that is to add their name to the Do Not Call Registry. This registry is something that you can update from time to time, and it would prevent their name from being added to telemarketing lists that are then sold to telemarketers and scammers.
Tip 4: Guard their Personal Information
Make sure that they know how to keep their passwords safe. They shouldn’t be giving information out to people who call them on the phone.
Tip 5: Stay Current on Fraud Tips
Frauds change from year to year.
These fraudsters are clever. They’re always coming up with a new way of trying to defraud the people who are most vulnerable (like seniors). Seniors often do not want to believe that people would take advantage of them.
So, do the best you can to stay current on any of the frauds and scams that are out there. You can do this by going to fraud.org, or usa.gov. They offer a lot of tips on how to keep your seniors safe.
And lastly, this is not a tip, this is a requirement of all of us who take care of seniors: if we suspect that any of the seniors we care for have been defrauded in any way, we must report this as a type of elder abuse. And to do that, you fill out the SOC341 form and contact your local long-term care ombudsman.
If you can do all of these things, you’ll be on your way to helping your seniors stay safe and fraud-free.