Ways to Protect Your Aging Parents from Financial Scams

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December 7, 2023 •  The Estate & Elder Law Center of Southside Virginia, PLLC
Learn effective ways to protect your aging parents from financial scams and fraud. Discover steps you can take as adult children to help protect their wealth.
Robert W. Haley, managing lawyer
Robert W. Haley
Certified Elder Law Attorney® Robert W. Haley brings over 27 years of legal expertise and knowledge to his firm, which concentrates solely on the areas of elder law, estate planning (Last Will & Testaments, Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Trusts, etc.,.) Asset Protection/Medicaid Planning and fiduciary services. For many years, Robert practiced in real estate law, and in general practice, but decided to narrow his focus to elder law and estate planning when he realized the tremendous need for proper planning to be filled in Southside Virginia.

In today's digital age, scams targeting the elderly are on the rise, making it crucial for Lynchburg adult children and caregivers to be vigilant. This article delves deep into the world of scams and fraud, offering actionable steps you can take to shield your elderly parents from these malicious threats. Read on to discover the best ways to protect your parents and ensure their financial safety.

What Makes Seniors a Prime Target for Scammers?

Scammers often target older adults because they are perceived as more trusting and less likely to report scams. Cognitive decline in some seniors can also make them more susceptible to scam artists' tactics, such as identity theft. It's essential to recognize that scams can be one of the most significant threats to our aging parents' financial well-being in Lynchburg.

How Do Phone Scams Work?

Phone scams are among the most common scams targeting seniors. A phone scammer might pose as an IRS agent, claim a prize, or even impersonate a grandchild in distress. They use experiences or trending news to put pressure on the seniors, urging them to wire money or share personal information. The recent magazine case of phone scammers who targeted seniors in Minnesota and stole over $300 million is a good example of how prevalent these issues are and how tricky scammers can be. Always remind your parents to verify the identity of the caller and never share financial information over the phone.

The Rise of Online Scams and Tech Support Fraud

Online scams targeting the elderly have surged in recent years. Tech support fraud, in particular, sees scammers claiming to be from reputable companies, urging Lynchburg seniors to grant them access to their computers. Once in, they can steal personal information or install malicious software. Educate your elderly parents about the dangers of unsolicited tech support calls and the importance of not clicking on suspicious links.

Power of Attorney: A Double-Edged Sword?

Having financial power of attorney can be a safeguard, allowing trusted individuals to manage their money. However, it can also be a tool for financial fraud if placed into the wrong hands. Ensure that the person given this responsibility is trustworthy and has your parents' best interests at heart.

Signs Your Lynchburg Elderly Parent Is Being Scammed

Stay alert for signs of fraud in your parents' behavior or finances. Some red flags include:

  • Unexplained withdrawals or transactions
  • Fearful or secretive behavior about finances
  • Receiving an influx of unsolicited calls or mail
  • Mention of a new "friend" who offers financial advice

How to Protect Personal Information

Personal information is gold for scammers. Advise your parents to:

  • Shred documents containing personal details
  • Regularly check their credit report
  • Not share their social security number or other personal details, unless necessary
  • Be wary of unsolicited requests for their information

Financial Account Monitoring: A Proactive Approach

Among the most effective ways to keep an older adult's money safe from scammers is financial account monitoring. Regularly reviewing bank and credit card statements can help spot unauthorized transactions early. Encourage your parents to sign up for financial account alerts.

Educate and Communicate: The Best Way to Protect Mom and Dad

Open communication is key. Regularly discuss the latest scams targeting seniors with your parents. By keeping them informed, they'll be better equipped to recognize and avoid potential threats.

Resources to Help Protect Your Elderly Parents

A Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA®) like Robert W. Haley helps seniors to safeguard their finances through proper planning. Book a call with the team at The Estate & Elder Law Center of Southside Virginia to find out how they can help protect your elderly parent.  In addition, there are several resources available to help protect older Americans from scams:

In Conclusion

Protecting our elderly parents from financial scams and elder fraud is a shared responsibility. By staying informed, maintaining open communication and taking proactive measures, we can significantly reduce the risk of our loved ones falling victim to scams.

Key Takeaways:

  • Scammers often target older adults due to their perceived vulnerability.
  • Phone scams and online fraud are prevalent threats.
  • Regularly monitor financial accounts for suspicious activity.
  • Open communication and education are vital in preventing scams.
  • Utilize available resources to stay informed and protect your loved ones.
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