Every year, millions of seniors fall victim to financial fraud. Studies show elder financial abuse costs seniors approximately $2.9 billion annually. Older customers and their trusted caregivers are encouraged to safeguard all personal information. Tips to help prevent elder abuse crimes:
• Get to know your banker and build a relationship with the people who handle your finances. They can look out for any suspicious activity related to your account.
• Plan ahead to protect your assets and to ensure wishes are followed. Talk to someone at your financial institution, an attorney, or financial advisor about the best options for you.
• Carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters.
• Never give personal information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
• Never pay a fee or taxes to collect sweepstakes or lottery “winnings.”
• Never rush into a financial decision. Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion.
• Check references and credentials before hiring anyone.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.