Help Stop Elder Financial Abuse
June 15 is World Elder Abuse Prevention Day and more than 369,000 incidents of financial abuse targeting older adults are reported to authorities in the U.S. each year, causing an estimated $4.8 billion in losses. And those numbers likely understate the problem considerably. However, as we approach World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, it’s good to remember that there are things we can do to stop elder financial exploitation.
Encourage your loved one to designate someone they trust to help them with financial decisions. The federal government’s Eldercare Locator can help you find free or low-cost legal assistance. Suggest they add a trusted contact for their financial institutions if they are unreachable or if questionable activity is detected. A trusted contact is not able to make transactions, but the financial institution can disclose some account information to them.
Also, watch out for someone — even someone you thought you or your loved one could trust — who discourages contact with family and friends, exerts pressure on financial decisions or asks for large sums of money.
Most importantly, financial exploitation is a crime and should be reported to your local police or Sheriff or even to 911.
Threats from online quizzes
Let’s be honest, most of us have done it: taking one of those viral social media quizzes or threads that seem so fun and innocent. Post a picture of your first car. What cartoon princess are you? What record was number one the year you graduated high school?
They may seem like harmless fun, but the Better Business Bureau and digital-security companies warn that criminals sometimes use quizzes to pry loose personal data. Launching a quiz app may give its creators permission to pull information from your profile, offering hackers an opening to steal your online identity. Here are three social media scams to avoid.
Avoid queries about innocent-sounding things like your high school mascot or first car that might be linked to common security questions that banks and financial firms use to protect accounts. Be suspicious of any personal messages appearing to come from celebrities you follow. Criminals often impersonate celebrities online and offer special access for a price or ask for help with a new investment or charitable contributions.
Another classic social media scam involves a direct message from one of your personal contacts asking “is this a picture of you” with a link to click on. Clicking the link takes you to a site that mimics one of the popular social networks and prompts you to log in, a ploy for hackers to get your credentials and access your account.
Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.