Seniors, Don’t Become another Victim
of Financial Elder Abuse and Fraud-
Financial elder abuse and fraud is one of the fastest growing problems affecting seniors and the cost of fraud eventually reaches every part of the economy, including individuals and organizations. The National Council on Aging states that financial fraud against senior citizens is the “Crime of the 21st Century,” citing that one in five seniors over the age of 65 will become victims. Here are the top 10 things seniors and their loved ones should know in order to prevent fraud and what to do if you’ve been a victim:
- Do not carry your social security or Medicare cards unless you are going to the doctor or pharmacy for the first time. Make a color copy of the Medicare card and blacken out the first six numbers of the social security number and keep the original at home.
- Use an RFID wallet to protect your identity. There are many on the market so be sure to look at all the reviews because they are not equal. A thief with a radio frequency identification (RFID) scanner can walk within five feet of you and steal your identity in a matter of seconds. The scanners can be purchased on the Internet for $10.
- Never give out any personal information to anyone unless you have initiated the contact. Even if you did initiate contact, never give out your passwords.
- Ask for all offers in writing.
- Do not sign up for contests or “free” offers for anything.
- Shred all papers containing any personal or financial information with a cross-cut shredder.
- Look at your annual credit report once a year to make sure that someone hasn’t opened up a credit card in your name. You can go to annualcreditreport.com to order it.
- Sign up for the national “do not call” registry. Call (888) 382-1222 from the phone number you want to register.
- Get your name off lists for unsolicited credit and insurance offers by calling (888) 567-8688.
- Never put out-going checks in your mailbox. Drop them off at the post office.
If you feel you or a loved one has been a victim of fraud, gather as much information as you can and continue with the following:
- Report it to your local law enforcement.
- Fill out a report on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website.
- Put a fraud alert on your credit report. REMINDER: it only lasts 90 days so you must update it.
*Written by Financial fraud experts, Janet Carruthers, a daily money manager, CPA and former financial investigator at the FBI and Treasury, and Gideon Schein, a certified professional daily money manager.
**Provided by AADMM- a membership organization comprised of individuals who provide daily money management services directly to their own clients. AADMM is committed to promoting high standards of client services provided by members through its professional certification program and to supporting the growth of the daily money management industry, in numbers of providers, in recognition of the field, and in the quality of services provided. To speak with a Daily Money Manager in your area, email firstname.lastname@example.org.