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3 Key Measures to Protect Your Loved One from Elderly Fraud Abuse

Elderly fraud can be a delicate topic for our aging loved ones. But it’s necessary to address it to protect them from a crime that, unfortunately, is becoming more and more prevalent.

The Story of Naira, a Victim of Elderly Fraud

At 71, Naira was navigating life as a single and retired woman with a disability.

One day, she received an email seemingly from her bank, requesting verification of her account numbers. Trusting the source, Naira sent her information.

Soon after, she received another email appearing to be from a government official investigating Medicare fraud. The email requested her Medicare number to confirm that her account was not involved in any fraudulent activities.

Unaware she was being the victim of a fraud attempt, Naira provided her Medicare information.

When the bank manager contacted her to confirm she wanted to close her accounts, she realized that the money in her savings and checking accounts had vanished.

She immediately informed the bank manager about the email she had received, only to confirm that the whole process was indeed a scam. Naira felt utterly devastated.

Sadly, stories of financial abuse of the elderly, such as this, are common. Fraudsters are particularly looking for seniors in vulnerable situations to take advantage of them.

Woman reporting a scam of which she was victim through an elder fraud hotline

Why Are Seniors Targets of Elderly Fraud?

Seniors are at a particular stage of their lives when some of their capabilities may start diminishing. They also grew up and accomplished incredible things in a world that changed rapidly before their eyes.

For these reasons, they have characteristics that make them a target for scammers:

  1. Financial Stability: Older adults often have accumulated wealth and retirement savings. Their financial stability makes them attractive for various fraudulent schemes, such as investment fraud, Ponzi schemes, or fake charity appeals.

  2. Perception of Vulnerability: Scammers often perceive elderly adults as more vulnerable, particularly when they detect factors like physical or cognitive impairments.

  3. Politeness and Trusting Nature: Our beloved elderly were typically raised to prioritize politeness and trust in others. Scammers exploit this by pretending to be friendly, helpful individuals or presenting themselves as professionals in positions of authority.

  4. Loneliness and Social Isolation: Many seniors experience feelings of loneliness or isolation due to situations like losing a spouse, experiencing limited mobility, or having very few social connections. Scammers prey on these emotions, offering companionship, attention, and a sense of belonging.

  5. Challenges with Technology: Many aging adults find digital technologies challenging, and scammers look to leverage this by using deceptive tactics that exploit our loved ones’ limited understanding of online platforms and the internet.

Black man feeling frustrated about using a computer and finding out how to report an elderly scammer

Luckily, there are numerous things you and your loved one can do to be safe and to help your senior enjoy their golden years, and the fruits of a life well lived.

3 Things You Can Do to Protect Your Senior From Fraud

The good news is that your loved one is not alone against financial predators. There are several things you and your family can do to help your senior stay safe from elderly fraud.

1 – Give Support and Create Trust With Your Aging Relative or Friend

As we mentioned earlier, scammers prey on elderly people who they perceive as lonely and lacking a support network.

That’s why it’s so important to nurture a trusting and close relationship with your loved one. Making them feel loved and protected is one of the best ways to make them less vulnerable to emotional blackmail and other common scam tactics.

Happy Asian father being embraced by his daughter from behind | Scamming the elderly law

Trust between you and your senior will make it easy for them to share with you when a new person enters their life and the details of this new relationship. Also, trust will make your loved one open to suggestions you make about how to proceed with caution with a new connection.

Create a safe space for your loved one to share their experiences or concerns without fear of judgment. Encourage them to reach out to you and other trusted friends or relatives if they encounter anything suspicious.

2 – Share and Discuss Information About Elderly Fraud

Talking openly and specifically about elderly fraud with your loved one can empower them to protect themselves against it. The first step to being prepared for a risky situation is to learn everything you can about it.

Find a comfortable and relaxed setting to discuss the topic with your senior. Approach the conversation with empathy and understanding, and assure your loved one that you mean to support and protect them.

Senior Indian couple talking seriously about how to report a crime against the elderly

There are lots of educational materials, like brochures or articles, that offer tips on recognizing and preventing elderly fraud. Together with your senior, go over any resources that might help you, like trusted websites or guides.

There are also other sources you can tap on to inform you and your loved one about fraud directed to seniors:

We also recommend you and your loved one learn about red flags associated with scams, such as unsolicited requests for personal information, promises of unrealistic gains, or high-pressure tactics.

Highlight the importance of being careful and seeking advice if something seems odd. Remind your loved one that they can protect themselves. Reassure them that it’s okay to say “no” or hang up on suspicious calls.

Boost their confidence by highlighting their life experiences and wisdom as strengths in identifying potential scams.

Remember, ongoing communication is key. Regularly check in with your loved one, reinforce the importance of staying informed, and update them on new scams or fraud trends.

Senior woman and daughter talking about new trends on elder fraud abuse and holding hands

By sharing information and discussing elderly fraud, you empower your loved one to be proactive in safeguarding their financial and personal well-being.

3 – Take Specific Measures to Prevent and Respond to a Fraud Emergency

Apart from learning together how to identify and respond to potential scams, you can help your senior by taking specific steps to protect them.

  • Offer Assistance with Reviewing Their Finances: Offer to double-check bills, statements, and past and prospective payments your senior is planning to do.

  • Set Up Digital Safeguards: Verify with a technician the security of your loved one’s personal computer or cellphone, and make sure it has, at the minimum, a firewall, an antivirus, and a malware detector.

  • Help Your Senior Become More Digitally-Savyy: Share your knowledge of computers and digital technologies with your senior in a patient and loving manner. You can also offer them a course or program; many are specifically designed for elderly learners.

Asian son patiently teaching his elderly father how to use a computer | Elderly fraud abuse

  • Have the Fraud Emergency Numbers at Hand: just as with any other emergency, time is crucial when responding to a fraud situation. Collect the means of contact of relevant authorities and put them somewhere they can be easily retrieved by your loved one. This way they can quickly call to file a complaint in the event of a potential fraud.

A Professional Caregiver Can Be Your First Line of Defense Against Elderly Fraud

It can be extremely challenging to be on top of all the situations that can put your senior at risk of becoming a fraud victim. Particularly if you also have other responsibilities, such as a job or taking care of your kids.

In this case, a professional and trustworthy caregiver can be your ideal partner. They’re experienced in doing many things that help keep your loved one safe from financial fraud:

  • Monitor and Observe: A caregiver can keep a close eye on your loved one’s interactions, both in-person and online. They can help you detect any unusual phone calls, emails, or requests for personal information, quickly addressing any concerns or suspicious situations.

  • Educate and Raise Awareness: A knowledgeable caregiver can stay updated on the latest scams targeting seniors and be well-informed about common warning signs. They can share this information with you and your senior, helping equip you both to recognize and avoid potential fraud.

  • Assist with Financial Matters: Caregivers can assist with managing your loved one’s finances, reviewing bank statements and bill payments, or monitoring online transactions. They can help ensure that financial records are organized and monitored for any signs of fraudulent activity.

  • Communicate and Report: Caregivers can keep open communication with you and other trusted people involved in your senior’s care. They can give you regular updates on their well-being, share any concerns related to potential fraud, and report any odd situations promptly.

  • Be a Trusted Companion: A caregiver can offer companionship and emotional support to your loved one, reducing their vulnerability to scams that exploit loneliness and social isolation. By building a trusting relationship, they can serve as a confidant, making it easier for your senior to seek guidance and share any situations related to potential fraud.

Elderly woman chatting with her caregiver at a cafe, having a nice time | Elderly scammed by family

  • Coordinate with Professionals: Caregivers can collaborate with professionals like financial advisors, attorneys, or law enforcement agencies to ensure your loved one’s protection. They can make communication easier, gather information, and act as a liaison between your senior and these professionals.

At Amy’s Eden, Your Loved One’s Safety is Our First Priority

At Amy’s Eden, we know there’s nothing you wouldn’t do to keep your elderly loved one safe from any harm.

We feel the same way you do. In fact, Amy’s Eden provides licensed protected supervision. Because of this, we have legally advocated for vulnerable seniors who have become victims of any type of abuse, including financial exploitation, with positive result.
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Deena founded Amy’s Eden to fulfill her calling to devote herself to the safety and well-being of the elderly.

She has been dedicated to caregiving for almost twenty years, during which she developed a model that ensures focused attention to your loved one, and formed a team of loving professionals with sound care practices that have a positive impact on your senior’s happiness.

Elderly woman and her caregiver laughing and sharing quality time | National hotline for elder fraud

We are excited to be part of your senior’s life and help them be safe from harm, healthy, and happy. All this in a manner that suits your whole family’s time needs and lifestyle.

We offer our services in two modalities: we can go to your loved one’s home and provide a premium in-home care service or your senior can come live in one of our comfortable assisted living residences in upscale neighborhoods in the Reno and Carson City areas.

Reach out to us and let’s talk about how we can help your elderly loved one live their golden years to the fullest.

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