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How to Protect Your Parents from Financial Scams

By Anne Carr

One of the biggest nightmares you can have with respect to your aging parents is that they have been scammed out of their hard-earned money. Unfortunately, it happens every day. Criminals across the globe set out with the express intent to rip off older adults because they know that many seniors have grown up in a generation where they don’t challenge authority. Also, criminals understand that most seniors have a financial nest egg ripe for the picking. This should terrify anyone who has older family members who might be vulnerable to being duped out of their savings. 

There have been times when my own  father-in-law has given away his email address and home address to scammers who promise to help improve his credit,  refinance his home, or give him a deal on an inexpensive cemetery plot. The latest situation, however, was the scariest of all. He called me one Saturday afternoon and asked me how to fill out an online claim form because he received an email that said he won the lottery in South Africa. He honestly believed he had won the lottery. We’ve all snickered about the online Nigerian scam in which the caller promises huge winnings, but thieves are becoming even more savvy by creating web sites that look and sound legitimate.

Scamming older adults can happen to your aging family member at any time.

What I have learned over the years while working diligently to help educate my father-in-law is that there are so many ways for criminals to scam the aged from telemarking to Internet scams to junk mail. I have also realized that if someone sounds convincing about a supposed product or service, many victims will fall for it even after they believe they have done their own due diligence and have asked the right questions.

I hope every day that my father-in-law does not become a victim of identity theft because I don’t know how long it would take for him to realize someone is systematically stealing from him.

There are several web sites devoted to helping seniors learn the warning signs about being taken for a scam, but there really needs to be a more proactive solution to the billions of dollars that are being stolen from seniors around the world.

I was extremely relieved to learn about Eversafe, an online solution that protects seniors from identity theft and fraud. EverSafe monitors your elderly family members’ financial accounts as well as their credit reports around the clock to make sure there is no suspicious activity. If suspicious activity is found, trusted people in the family are immediately notified. They also provide some great tips on combating senior abuse in their blog.

This product gives families piece of mind because criminals are getting smarter and smarter every day. They prey on seniors at every turn and you just never know when someone will convince your parent to sign up for a program they don’t need and doesn’t exist to a fraudulent charity that simply takes their money and runs.

If you have an elderly parent, I highly recommend signing up for EverSafe. My husband and I cannot possibly monitor my father-in-law every day, but EverSafe can.

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