Protecting your elderly parents from financial exploitation

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2024 | Estate Planning

Financial exploitation of older adults is a growing concern. As our parents age, they may become more vulnerable to scams, fraud, and financial abuse.

Advances in technology, especially in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), make it even easier for scammers to financially exploit older Americans.

Here are some strategies to help safeguard your loved one’s financial well-being.

1. Education

Education is the first line of defense against financial exploitation. Discuss common scams with your parents, and let them know that fraudsters often pose as government officials, bank officers, or lottery representatives. Remind them to never give out personal or financial information or money without verification.

2. Regularly monitor finances

Review your parents’ bank and credit card statements regularly. It can help detect unusual or unauthorized transactions. Setting up alerts makes it easier to monitor accounts and stop fraudulent activities.

3. Direct deposit

Encourage your parents to set up direct deposits for any income sources, such as Social Security and pensions. This reduces the risk of checks being stolen in the mail.

4. Power of attorney

A power of attorney allows your parents to appoint someone they trust to manage their finances if they cannot do so themselves. This can provide peace of mind, knowing that their financial matters will be handled responsibly and that there will be an extra line of defense against exploitation.

5. Set up a trust

A trust can provide additional oversight of your parents’ assets. A trustee is legally obligated to manage the assets in the trust for your parents’ benefit.

6. Report suspicious activity

If you suspect your parents are being financially exploited, report it immediately. Contact the bank, local law enforcement, and Adult Protective Services.

It’s also crucial that you work with someone who can help you establish systems to protect your loved ones and ensure their financial security during their golden years.