While it is unfortunate, investment scammers tend to target the elderly who may suffer from cognitive impairment or are simply too trusting of those calling them on their home phones. According to the North American Securities Administrators Association, nearly half of all investment fraud victims are senior citizens and that number is on the rise.
Aging adults tend to have more disposable money at their fingertips and are more prone to want to help someone that they think is in need. So how, then, can we protect our aging loved ones from becoming a victim of fraud or theft? Palm Beach County Home Care Assistance has put together some helpful tips to avoid getting caught in one of the many financial traps targeting our older generation.
- Don’t Make Decisions without All the Information
If someone calls asking for money to fund the construction of building for a good cause, ask for financial information about the group. After conducting these interviews and reviewing the data, bring this information to an attorney or financial adviser who may be able to verify its authenticity.“The Grandparent Scam” is another common scheme where someone calls the elderly adult and asks, “Hi Grandma, do you know who this is?” One the aging adult responds with a name, the scammer uses that information and relationship to generate conversation, eventually requesting money is sent via Western Union or MoneyGram to help them solve an urgent crisis. In this case, you can hang up and call your grandchild’s number to verify that the person who was calling you is in fact not who they say they are.Visit ncoa.org and search for “Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors” for a more thorough review of what aging adults and their caregivers should be on the lookout for. A caregiver or family member can make a list of these common scams and leave it next to their aging loved one’s phone.
- Don’t Give Away Any of Your Information
Seniors are urged to never give up their bank account number, credit card number or social security number. No bank will ever ask you for that information over the phone and if a scammer receives this information they could make withdrawals from your account without permission. Asking for personal information is always a glaring red flag.
- Run Away if it Sounds Too Enticing
If something sounds too good to be true, there is a good chance that your instinct is correct. Someone who asks you to provide multiple investments into a fund promising 20 percent returns is probably ripping you off. In general, a good return on your investment is less than 10 percent per year over a long enough period of time.
Seniors should always ask a third-party for advice on any investment opportunity before investing and make sure that they never give up sensitive personal information. If family members can’t be on standby every time an aging loved one gets a suspicious phone call, email or door-to-door solicitor, it may be high time to hire the help of an hourly or 24/7 Palm Beach County caregiver. These individuals can help assess the situation while ensuring the overall safety and security of the senior under their care.
For more information on how an experienced and trained caregiver from Palm Beach Home Care Assistance can help your aging loved one, call 561-429-8292. And for a complete and comprehensive guide on senior fraud protection, visit sec.gov/investor/seniors/seniorsguide.pdf.