Millions of seniors fall victim to online scams every year, losing exponential amounts of money meant for their retirement. Seniors are often targeted for financial scams because they are believed to have a significant amount of money in their bank accounts.
If your parents or loved ones become victims of one of these scams, it can leave them in a vulnerable financial position with a short amount of time to recoup from the scam. This means it’s important for you to help them monitor for online scams. Read how to identify scams and find out a few ways to help your parents or loved ones avoid them.
How to Identify an Online Scam
Read the following warning signs to keep an eye out for that may indicate your parents or loved ones are the victims of a scam.
- Unusual Changes to Their Account. This could be atypical withdrawals, a new person added or sudden use of their ATM or credit card. Talk to your parents or loved ones about these changes and seek financial assistance if it turns out they have been scammed.
- Bills are Past Due. If your parents’ essential bills are suddenly unpaid despite adequate income, you might want to investigate what is causing this and ensure their accounts aren’t compromised.
- Behavior Changes. If your parents or loved ones suddenly start acting confused, unkempt or afraid, make sure you communicate with them and get to the root of the problem. If they’ve fallen victim to a scam, they will likely be afraid and might be embarrassed to talk to you about it.
5 Ways to Protect Seniors from Scams
There are multiple ways you can actively protect your parents or loved ones from being scammed. Follow these steps to ensure they don’t fall victim to a scam.
- Avoid Solicitations. Encourage your parents or loved ones to never buy anything from an unfamiliar company or source. They should always obtain the salesperson’s name, business identity, telephone number and business license number before they make any transaction with them. Make sure your parents or loved ones are communicating with you about potential purchases and use the information they’ve gained about the seller to do an internet search to ensure they’re legit.
- Shred All Receipts. Advise your parents or loved ones to shred any credit card receipts they have that contain their personal information. Identity theft is a huge business, and it’s important that your parents or loved ones don’t do anything that would make them susceptible. They should also monitor their bank and credit card statements regularly and contact their financial institutions immediately if they notice suspicious activity.
- Sign Up for the ‘Do Not Call’ List. You can visit this website to sign up your parents or loved ones for the ‘Do Not Call’ list to stop telemarketers from contacting them. This will prevent them from having to communicate with individuals trying to conduct scams over the phone.
- Avoid Giving Out Personal Information. Educate your parents or loved ones and inform them to never provide personal information over the phone. This includes their credit card information, banking information, social security number, Medicare information and any other personal details that could be used to scam them financially.
- Use Direct Deposit. Help your parents or loved ones set up direct deposit for any of their benefit checks or other sources of income. Using direct deposit ensures that checks go directly into accounts and are protected. This will help them avoid scammers from stealing checks out of their mailbox.
Explore Senior Living Options at Episcopal SeniorLife Communities
Searching for the right community for your parents or loved ones? At Episcopal SeniorLife Communities, we offer a complete variety of senior living options and care services. Our staff works diligently to make sure your loved ones are safe and well cared for.
We seek to understand and be sensitive to our residents’ needs, and are focused on caring for seniors and their families. To learn more about the full continuum of care your loved one can experience at Episcopal SeniorLife Communities, contact us today.