This really concerns me. The FBI’s 2023 Elder Fraud Report reveals an 84% increase in financial theft in 2022 from the year before. In addition, investment fraud against senior citizens is up 300%.
I would like to say that this is preventable. Nevertheless, these crooks are so good at what they can do with technology that it is tough to stop it from occurring. However, as an adult child of a senior citizen parent, you can take some steps to at least put a “firewall” in place to prevent it from happening or at least slow down the process. Here are some simple steps to take.
Put a credit freeze on all three credit reports – this step locks up the credit reports and can be opened only with the use of a secret passcode that you have in your possession.
I still recommend signing up for credit monitoring for an extra layer of protection.
Have mail transferred to your house – this might be tougher to pull off. We can’t forget that no one wants to give up their independence.
Gain online access to bank accounts and credit cards and sign up for all of the alerts that can warn you that something is occurring.
Be signed up as a co-signer on each bank and or savings account.
Gain online access to all investment accounts and make a point of doing a quick check once a month.
Turn everything from paper to paperless for easier tracking.
If your parent is open to it, take over the payment of bills as well.
Most importantly, have a weekly talk about any financial transactions that your parent was considering or conducted that are out of the ordinary.
You might think this is overkill and a violation of a person’s personal life. However, the reality is there are crooks that want to commit fraud involving your parents, and it is soaring year after year. It is a real problem if it happens. I look at it this way: Wouldn’t you (regardless of age) like to have someone watching over your personal financial life and making sure you aren’t missing something?