How To Help Seniors Prevent Fraud
Updated: Apr 11
While fraudulent activity is horrible and many would rather not think about scammers, the truth is scammers certainly exist. And in a world where we are so interconnected thanks to the internet, scamming is on the rise and getting more sophisticated. It’s important to try and be aware of the common tactics scammers use so that you can protect yourself and your loved ones. Unfortunately, fraud is a common tactic scammers use against seniors so it’s important to know how to protect from scammers, as well as what to do if you or someone you know has been scammed.
Know What To Look For
Take a moment to look into the common tactics scammers use and be sure to open a dialogue with the seniors in your life. Be sure to talk about credit card fraud, identity theft, phone scams, online scams, and door-to-door tactics. Be sure to let them know that they are not required to hand out personal information and if someone on the other line is being far too pushy, it's best to disconnect. Ensure they know not to give out personal information on social media. Explain to them how to navigate their social media spaces and that they understand the public nature of it. The more angles you can discuss the topic, the better. Each thing you discuss will hopefully help prevent fraud from happening to them.
Information That Should Never Be Shared
It’s important that seniors know that giving away personal information can be harmful, but especially so for certain pieces of information. Things such as your bank PIN, bank account information and passwords, your Social Security Number are some of the things that should never be shared freely. Explain to them that even at ATMs one should be very careful. Always cover your PIN as you input it onto the keypad. Have them inspect the ATM as well. Explaining to them about card skimmers and what they might look like can certainly prevent fraud. Any documents that contain personal information should be kept in safe storage and when the document is no longer needed, shredded. Likewise, those with Power of Attorney over anothers' documents should also practice safe storage and shredding routines.
Beware Odd Methods of Repayment
A common tactic scammers like to use, especially against seniors, is to convince them that they have somehow been overpaid in their bank account. The scammer will show overwhelmingly convincing proof and demand that the person being scammed correct the balance by purchasing gift cards. The scammer instructs the person to purchase multiple gift cards, scratch them off, and give them the code. Be sure to let any seniors in your life know about this common tactic and to be wary of anyone asking them to buy gift cards to repay a bank error.
Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score
Unfortunately, we can do our best and be the most vigilant person and we might still manage to get scammed in one way or another. That’s why it’s also important to advise seniors to keep abreast of their credit score and check it often. Checking their credit score often will allow them to catch any red flags such as a drop in their rating or mysterious, unexplained debts. Keeping an eye on your credit score is a simple but extremely effective measure we can practice to help catch fraud.
Our caregivers here Christian Companions can be a great help in helping detect fraudulent activity for seniors. Having an in-home care assistant gives seniors someone they can talk to and confide in when they have questions regarding what might feel like a scam. Reach out to us today if you or a loved one could make use of an in-home care assistant.