According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, millions of older adults fall victim to financial scams and frauds each year. These frauds can be in the form of fake lottery wins, fake charities, debt collection fraud, identity theft, and many more. The reason why older adults are targeted more often can be due to the fact that they live alone and do not possess adequate knowledge to be informed of such fraudulent behavior, making them unable to protect themselves against these scammers. As your loved ones prepare to move into our senior living community, we have listed a few tips and tricks in order for the elderly to avoid frauds.
Never Give Personal Information
Personal information such as Social Security number, credit card, and banking details, and phone numbers should be kept confidential at all times. Remind your loved ones that personal information should not be shared with anyone that is neither a close friend nor a family member. In the event of strangers demanding these details, your loved ones can immediately inform our staff or caregivers on-site, or contact their family members for assistance. However, the risk of unverified personnel appearing in our senior living community is low as anyone entering and leaving has to undergo a strict verification procedure.
Install Antivirus and Security Software in the Computer
If your loved ones own a personal computer, you can take a proactive approach to install antivirus software to protect them from online scams. Without this software, they are vulnerable to scammers, who can access and use your loved ones’ personal information, data, and bank accounts. It’s important to be safe and smart when it comes to surfing the internet, and a good habit your loved ones can pick up is to never click links, attachments, or pop-ups from unfamiliar sources. If you’re unsure of how to download or install this software, be sure to head to a verified and legitimate business.
Avoid Being Isolated
Unfortunately, more and more older adults are facing social isolation and loneliness. This can be due to a number of reasons, though the most common ones are lack of access and resources and their own decision to withdraw from the community. Many statistics have shown that loved ones who are not engaged with the community have a significantly higher risk of being targeted by scammers or suffering from violent attacks. This finding should come as no surprise since these older adults do not have an immediate emergency contact, leaving them incredibly exposed to danger. As such, by socializing and forming connections, your loved ones can rely on someone when mishaps occur.
While your loved ones are responsible for their own safety, it’s good to check in on them on a frequent basis and ensure that everything is going well. When there are family visits, you can take this opportunity to ask your loved ones if they have encountered interesting individuals or have made any significant purchases. Take a look at their financial transactions, emails, call history, and bills. If there are any suspicious activities, inform the authorities immediately.