Elder financial abuse is a big issue, one that’s likely to become bigger as the senior population continues to expand. Your clients may be smart, risk-averse, tech-savvy … and they may still be at risk.
Here’s one stat that puts things into perspective: 34 percent of elder financial fraud crimes are committed by family, friends or neighbors. Financial hardship can come at the hands of someone your clients know and trust, which is why education and intuition are critically important.
The following quiz comes from First Judicial Attorney Peter Weir, based in Jefferson County, Colorado. Test your own knowedge, then share this with your clients to help keep their assets safe.
For more on elder fraud, visit www.LifeHealthPro.com/elderfraud
1. The top ways identity thieves get your info is through purse snatching, mail theft, dumpster diving and email “phishing.”
A: True. Thieves look to steal purses/checkbooks. They also look in mail boxes for checks, pre-approved credit card applications and account statements. They also look through trash for unshredded info containing account numbers and send “phishy” emails asking for verifications of account numbers by impersonating banks, credit card companies and government agencies.
2. It’s a good idea to carry your Social Security card with you.
A: False. It’s best to have nothing in your purse or wallet that contains your SS number, which can be used to apply for and receive credit in your name.
3. Once you have subscribed to your state’s “no call” list, you don’t have to worry about telemarketers.
A: False. The No Call List will not stop criminal telemarketers — to protect yourself, simply do not talk to strangers.
4. There is a law that requires charities to spend a certain percentage of their income on programs and services.
A: False. It’s the donor’s responsibility to determine how donations are used. Ask charities for a copy of their annual report and contact the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance at www.give.org.
5. Foreign lotteries are illegal in the U.S.
A: True. Federal law prohibits mailing payments to participate in any foreign lottery. Telemarketing con artists trick people into sending payments or fees before “collecting” on their bogus lottery winnings.
6. As long as you don’t buy any magazines or send any money, playing sweepstakes is harmless entertainment.
A: False. When you play sweepstakes, your name is frequently put on marketing lists, increasing the chances it will end up on criminal telemarketing lists.