At some point, most of us will become caregivers to a senior – possibly a family member, close friend or neighbor. The care may be general, by helping around the house, providing transportation or simply visiting. At other times, we’ll serve in a more official capacity such as financial caregiver.
Serving as a financial caregiver may start as being a trusted advisor – someone they run things past. Later, we may become a guardian, power of attorney or trustee. Here are a few areas to focus on that will help protect their financial stability.
Many fraud scenarios target seniors. Lottery and IRS tax scams, romance, grandparent and phishing scams to name a few. Educate yourself and talk to the senior. Help them be prepared for a scam call, email or in person visit from a fraudster. Report such activity to law enforcement and your financial institution.
Protect identity and assets
Regardless of where a senior resides – in their own home, with a relative or in an assisted living facility – take steps to ensure personal information is secure. If visitors or service providers are coming into a residence, make sure personal information is not accessible. Information containing Social Security Number, bank account numbers, checkbooks or debit cards should be kept in a locked drawer or filing cabinet.
Report suspicious activity
You may be the person most likely to recognize financial abuse, so look for unexplained withdrawals, unauthorized debit card transactions, unusual trips to the bank or an average account balance that takes a sudden dip. Talk with the senior to understand what is happening. Don’t be accusatory or judgmental but help them realize that someone may be taking advantage of them. Contact local law enforcement or adult protective services for assistance. Also, reach out to their financial institution, so they can take steps to protect their identity and accounts. It may be difficult to make a call reporting suspicious behavior, but you may be the only person in a position to see what is happening and take action to help.
For additional information or assistance call 1-844-ONB-4SRS (1-844-662-4777) or visit oldnational.com/fraud.
Schedule a Money Safety for Seniors Workshop.
Learn how to detect, protect against and report the financial exploitation of seniors. Old National offers this course to community groups at no cost.
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