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3 ways to help loved ones avoid becoming a victim of fraud

Fraudsters are known to target our senior loved ones and, according to a recent report in Barron's, their efforts are successful. Scammers have reportedly gained billions of dollars in ill-gotten gains from senior Americans.

These fraudsters are largely successfull because they exploit a vulnerable population's often limited online knowledge, with schemes using the phone, text messages, emails and social media contacts.

A main reasons these criminals find success: shame. It is difficult to admit when we have been the victim of a scam. Whether the criminal was clever or not, we believe we should have seen it coming and acted to avoid the issue. When we get caught up in the fraud, it may be tempting to try and beat it. Unfortunately, this can lead to additional losses.

We can help mitigate this risk with the following tips:

  • Technology best practices. Help loved ones to set up a contact list in their phone. If a caller is unidentified, encourage them to let the call go to voicemail. If the call is about an appointment or other important matter, the caller will leave a message.
  • Teach new practices. It was once very common for people to carry their Social Security cards in their wallets. Let loved ones know this is no longer the practice. Instead, help them store important documents in a safe.
  • Consider delegation. Sometimes our loved ones do best discuss this information with another trusted source. Consider reaching out to your family attorney or a trusted friend to lead this discussion on your behalf.

In some cases, the use of additional legal tools to protect our loved ones is a good idea. An attorney experienced in elder law issues can discuss these tools and help better ensure your loved one's finances are safe.

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