Has your elderly loved one ever been financially scammed? If you don’t know, you should find out. Seniors, more than any other age group, are easy targets, and it doesn’t matter how educated, active, or aware they are, or how worldly or successful their lives were in the past. It is not even a generational problem.
Research shows that our brains change as we age, affecting our ability to recognize or interpret cues that are untrustworthy, risky or dangerous.
Shelley Taylor, professor of psychology at UCLA, who led the research funded by the National Institute on Aging, said, “Many people think this problem exists because the post-war generation is more trusting than other generations…but what we’ve discovered is this is based on neurological changes. The Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials are all going to face this as they age.”
There will always be criminals who are intent on victimizing the vulnerable. It could even happen to you one day.
So what can we do to protect ourselves, and our aging loved ones, from scammers?
Be aware. The National Council on Aging lists the top 10 financial scams targeting seniors. Know what to watch out for.
Get control. If you are the primary caretaker of an elderly loved one, you should have legal power of attorney to handle their financial affairs. But, if that person is independent and living alone, they may want to keep it that way. Try to get their permission to monitor their finances online so you can watch for unusual activity, and/or get their phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry to deter telemarketers. Also, check in on them often.
Report it. If you suspect a scam, take action. Contact your local police right away.