Financial Fraud Protection for the Elderly

Most money scams we hear of have our older folks as victims. As more adults approach the retirement stage, a big chunk of a nation’s wealth is held by our senior citizens. Unfortunately, although the rise of technology in today’s modernized era is seen as helpful in terms of cash and asset management, it can sometimes be disadvantageous for the elderly because not all of them have mastered the use of those gadget as well as we had. Moreover, these innovations have also paved the way for various scams to become possible, robbing old people of money they worked several decades for.

In a study conducted, it was found out that individuals within the senior age range are mostly targeted by scammers. Around $2.9B is taken away from them annually due to financial abuse and this amount is generated from the reported cases only, leaving a bigger fraction of the group silent about their own experiences. As advisors, it is part of the obligation to ensure that your elderly client is shielded away from these deceptions.

A research has unveiled that women are usually victimized than men and majority of them is aged between 80 to 89. Those who are left to their own devices or isolated from family are usually selected by strangers, while in some cases, the perpetrators are family members themselves or close friends. Usually, seniors with high net worth and technologically challenged are extremely appealing to scammers. The act comes in different schemes--it can be identity theft, power of attorney, or healthcare fraud.

Given this, advisors should be well aware of the warning signals that may indicate if their client is being deceived. Unusual behavior is one determinant, such as sudden withdrawal of large amounts or investment in an irrelevant product. A quick appearance of a new friend can also be a sign, plus a desire to make will alterations.

To resolve this, an open communication with the individual is a must, especially in the presence of odd demeanor. If an advisor has connections to relatives, he can get additional background on the situation, or they can educate the aged regarding what data is safe to share over the internet. Presently, legislations to prevent such occurrences are being prepared for passing, such as requiring advisors to report fraud cases, and protect them from privacy violation charges if they choose to do so.