There are abundant opportunities for scammers to obtain sensitive information: email, phone calls, letters, and more. Unfortunately, these criminals often target seniors because they tend to have a retirement account and are vulnerable to scams.
Are you watching out adequately for your elderly family members to help them avoid the risk of financial fraud? Not only do you need to be proactive in protecting your loved ones, but these tips should be applied in your home as well.
While there is no one perfect solution for staying safe, these strategies can help reduce the risk of financial fraud:
- Protect Sensitive Paperwork: Think of the three “S’s” for sensitive papers and records: Scan. Secure. Shred. Don’t leave anything with sensitive data lying around – even in the trash. SECURE important documents under lock and key when not in use (passports, social
security cards, vital records, deeds/titles, wills/trusts). SHRED anything you don’t need to keep – every home should have a shredder for disposing of sensitive paperwork. SCAN copies of records you should keep, after shredding the sensitive paper copies, such as loan documents, statements and tax records. Any page that has sensitive data about you and your family is
useful to a criminal, so look out for account numbers, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, birthdates and make sure those pages are either secured, scanned or shredded.
- Secure Mail Delivery: Invest in a locked mailbox so that the envelopes can only be obtained with a key. Or, you might switch the mailing address to a nearby Post Office box so that mail is never left unattended. When envelopes are placed in an unsecured box, thieves have easy access to personal information.
- Monitor Accounts and Set Alerts: All bank accounts and other access points should be secured with a strong password. Set up two-factor authentication on these accounts. Also, set alerts so that you are notified when transactions exceed a certain dollar amount. Review account statements regularly and talk to your bank if you find unusual activity.
- Require Background Checks: Anyone who is coming into the home to perform housework or care should be pre- checked before being allowed inside. Invest in a background check for each such person.
A little bit of work can go a long way toward reducing the risk of financial fraud. For more information or support, talk to our team. Email info@SeniorSafeAndSound.org or call 858-480-7551. Senior Safe and Sound.
This information is intended to inform the public at large about this important issue. It is not intended to serve as legal advice.