Did you know June is the month in which we celebrate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day? This is a time where communities come together across the world to focus on protecting our elders from various forms of abuse, including financial scams. Family caregivers are often on the front lines of this effort as financial exploitation can strip our aging loved ones of their hard-earned savings, leaving them vulnerable and emotionally distressed. As scammers become increasingly sophisticated, it is crucial for family caregivers to stay informed and vigilant to safeguard their loved ones’ financial security. We have seven ideas to help you protect your aging loved ones from scams.

  1. Stay Informed About Scams. Keep yourself and your loved ones updated on the latest scams targeting seniors. Follow news reports, subscribe to alerts from consumer protection agencies, and share this information with your family.

 

  1. Establish Financial Safeguards. Set up automatic payments for regular bills and use direct deposit for income sources like Social Security. This reduces the need for seniors to handle large amounts of cash or write checks, lowering the risk of financial fraud.

 

  1. Review Legal Documents. Ensure that important legal documents, such as wills, powers of attorney, and health care directives, are up to date and reflect your loved ones’ current wishes. By maintaining these documents you can help prevent unauthorized financial decisions.

 

  1. Encourage Skepticism of Unsolicited Offers. Teach your loved ones to be wary of unsolicited phone calls, emails, or mail offers, especially those that seem too good to be true. Remind them that legitimate organizations will not ask for personal information or payments over the phone or via email.

 

  1. Use Trusted Advisors. Work together with your loved ones to find reputable advisors who can help manage your loved ones’ needs from finances to health care to home safety and more. These professionals can provide guidance and oversight to prevent fraudulent schemes from succeeding.

 

  1. Create a Communication Plan. Establish a routine for discussing financial matters with your loved ones. Regular check-ins can help you catch any potential issues early and reinforce the importance of staying vigilant against scams.

 

  1. Report Suspicious Activity. If your loved ones receive suspicious calls or emails, report these incidents to local authorities or consumer protection agencies. Reporting can help prevent others from falling victim to the same scams and may lead to action against the scammers.

Remember, taking proactive steps to protect our elders from scams not only helps prevent financial loss but also preserves their dignity and peace of mind. By educating yourself and your loved ones about the latest scams and implementing protective measures, you can create a safer environment for aging family members. 

We know this article raises more questions than it answers.  During World Elder Abuse Awareness Month, let’s commit to keeping our seniors safe and secure. If you need further assistance, an experienced estate planning and elder law attorney can provide valuable guidance and support. We want to help you protect your aging relatives. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum today.