5 Ways to Help Protect Aging Loved Ones and Their Money from Scams

Guest Post Author: Delores Brenedt | SP Solutions Care

Picture1

Research suggests that after the age of 70 our financial decision-making abilities can decline rapidly.  Year-round, especially during tax season with people posing as government and credit company representatives, we are hearing about more scams and new ways that deceive and defraud aging people out of hundreds, even tens of thousands of dollars, and for some, their entire life savings.

Finances and how to handle them is always a sensitive subject to talk about; especially to our elders who have been financially independent their entire adult lives.  No matter how old we get, listening and taking advice from someone younger than ourselves is hard, especially if the information is from someone they have raised.  Despite the difficulty of bringing up personal finances, ensuring the protection of your elder’s personal information and their money is a necessary conversation everyone needs to have, so let’s get started.

  1. PLAN AHEAD

Picture2Start by talking with your loved one BEFORE signs of impaired decision making or diminished capacity begin.  As we said, starting the conversation may be difficult; however, it can ensure that if these signs do occur, you will be prepared and can be PROACTIVE instead of reactive BEFORE financial irregularities take place.   Be sure to discuss a plan of action and that EVERYONE involved will know what to do if this impaired judgment does begin to occur.  It is important that the wishes of our loved ones are met with their desired outcome and that it continues if they are no longer able to make these decisions themselves.

  1. SIMPLIFY BANKING AND FINANCES

Picture3.png

Consolidate bank accounts to one bank and investments to one brokerage firm.  Only have 2 credit cards per person.  1 credit card for automatic payments and 1 credit card for purchases.  1 debit card per person.  This allows easier tracking by banks and their fraud tracking software to keep tabs on the spending habits, and locations debit and credit cards are used allowing for faster notification if there are any suspicious transactions.  Even though the banking world is practically all online, try and have your elders visit the bank on a regular basis.  Often times it is the keen eye of a teller or bank manager that notices someone different accompanying a senior while they make a withdrawal.

For further information combating fraud check out the CAFC (Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre) http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/fraud-escroquerie/index-eng.htm

  1. APPOINT A POWER OF ATTORNEY

A power of attorney for financial and healthcare decisions is something every person should have regardless of age.  In the case of an aging relative, this person that will act on their behalf in the case they become incapacitated.  This will help protect a vulnerable person from giving money or access to funds to a fraudulent cause.

For further information regarding power of attorneys and their roles check out https://www.lawdepot.ca/law-library/faq/power-of-attorney-faq-canada/#.WjK5nUqnHIU

  1. KEEP IN TOUCH

Picture6Isolation is a scammer’s best friend.  Elders that are separated from family and friends can easily fall victim.  Not only can money and credit be stolen but precious heirlooms such as jewelry and collectibles, furniture, artwork, electronics, tools and even vehicles-virtually anything with a dollar value.  Often times, once these items are gone the chances of getting them back, are next to none.   Keeping the conversation going will tell you if there is a recurring salesperson pressuring for credit info, phone calls asking for banking info and you will notice if key items are missing.

For further ways to combat phone scammers click http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/protectyourself-protegezvous/index-eng.htm

  1. KEEP INFORMED AND UP TO DATE

Criminals are always trying to stay one step ahead of the law.  Keep informed of local police and news.  Some police agencies even offer email newsletters or recorded telephone messages with information of reported scams happening locally.  Get to know your loved one’s neighbors, they are often aware of “outsiders” or unusual visitors to the neighborhood and your loved one.

Financial fraud of an aging person is considered elder abuse

As our loved ones become older, the ease in which criminals approach and deceive them is one of the fastest growing crimes occurring today.  We hope that these five points will help you to begin taking steps to protect the elders in your life and lowers the likelihood of these financial crimes happening to them.

For further information combating fraud check out the CAFC (Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre) http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/fraud-escroquerie/index-eng.htm

Disclaimer:  The references cite information specific to Canada.  Check your local government for programs and regulations on how to protect your loved ones from fraud and financial abuse.

About the Author

Picture5Delores Berendt is a Certified Relocation Transition Specialist. Knowing that Canada now has a higher proportion of seniors than ever before, Strategic Property Solutions, (SPS) saw that there would be an opportunity to fulfill a very valuable need in helping older adults and families downsize and relocate.

It is our vision to minimize stress, by consistently providing older adults and families with reliable and affordable solutions, and assisting with the physical, logistical and emotional demands that pertain to any life transition situation.

The SPS team serves clients in Toronto, the Durham Region, and surrounding areas.  For more information about moving and downsizing, please visit us at https://spsolutionscare.com/ or follow us on Facebook  and Instagram.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s