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Helping elderly parents avoid scams and financial abuse

As parents get older, many adult children are finding themselves in a position to provide care and support for them. This might mean living with them, visiting them every week in a nursing home facility or calling them more frequently to check in on them.

However, if you are invested in protecting your parent’s well-being, providing care and support shouldn’t stop at living arrangements or occasional phone calls. You can also take steps to protect them from common scams and financial abuse.

Common scams targeting the elderly

There are various ways people target the elderly to scam them out of money or property, including:

  • Posing as a Medicare representative and requesting personal information or providing bogus services
  • Fabricating funeral expenses or debts and then requesting payment from widows or loved ones of a recently deceased person
  • Soliciting money for fake charities
  • Pretending to be a family member in trouble and asking for money to help
  • Lying about having a large amount of money they will split with the target if he or she makes a small initial investment
  • Sending fake emails from legitimate companies and requesting personal information
  • Telemarketers claiming the target has won something but must release funds or personal information to access the prize

Protecting your parent

To help your own parents avoid these scams and protect their money and property, be aware of these tactics. Talk to your parent about them, as well.

It is also important to let them know they can always contact you with questions or concerns. Remind them to never give out their personal information, especially in an email or over the phone, and consider giving them a scripted response that allows them to respond politely but firmly to potential scammers.

Another option you might consider is to set up spending and account safeguards at their bank to prevent unauthorized access or excessive spending.

Often, schemers target people who are trusting, unfamiliar with technology and unable or unwilling to ask loved ones for help. You can help keep your parents and their money safe by keeping lines of communication open and putting additional measures in place to secure their assets.

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