There are countless statistics that demonstrate the risk of fraud to seniors. Given the risk, it is important to become familiar with the warning signs of fraud to know how to best help your loved one protect themselves from scams. Some of these warnings signs are discussed in a Wall Street Journal article titled, “Warnings Signs of Financial Fraud”. Usually, warning signs will be more subtle than a bank account suddenly being drained. Sometimes it may just be a mail box stuffed with flyers or financial help from a new “friend”.
Dealing with fraud can be especially difficult as seniors are oftentimes unlikely to cooperate. They may feel embarrassed that they are struggling to manage their finances. Solving the problem may be even more difficult if the perpetrator is someone that your loved one trusts. In order to make seniors more comfortable, many experts recommend discussing your personal finances openly with them. Hopefully, once open lines of communication are established, it can be easier to prevent fraud or spot it.
While it can be particularly heartbreaking, a common avenue of fraud is known as “the new best friend”. Con artists may seek lonely individuals and gain their trust. This may begin as a new neighbor helping out with yard work and eventually become a situation when your loved one is being taken advantage of. Even more devastating is when this person is a family member.
Given the many avenues for fraud, it is important to stay vigilant in trying to protect your loved one. There is no better tool against fraud than transparency. Warning signs include large cash transfers or withdrawals and cashing big checks. If you have access to your loved one’s account statements you will have the best chance to prevent fraud.