June 15th is Elderly Abuse Awareness Day, and here at NASB, we want to do our part to make sure our customers are taken care of.
Abuse can take many forms, from mental, to physical, to financial. Sadly, most cases of elder abuse are vastly under-reported, specifically financial abuse. According to Adult Protective Services, only one in 44 cases of financial abuse are reported. 1
Here are some preventative measures you can take to guard yourself against financial abuse.
- Get on the National Do Not Call Registry. Visit donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222. This will not only protect you from potential scams but will also keep your phone from ringing off the hook with annoying telemarketing calls.
- Keep in touch with others. The older we get the harder it is to stay in contact with friends and family members, but isolation can make us vulnerable.
- Get out the scissors. Tear, or shred credit card receipts, bank statements, solicitations, and financial records before disposing of them.
- Put down the pen. Do not sign any documents that you don’t fully understand without first talking them over with an attorney or trusted family member.
Current Scams to Keep an Eye On
- Medicare Card Replacement Scam
Medicare is distributing new cards to its beneficiaries that do not have their Social Security Number printed on the front. Some scammers are capitalizing on this card exchange, calling customers and asking them to verify their SSN to obtain their new card. This is not something Medicare will do. This IS a scam.
- Clearinghouse Winner Scam
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from a clearinghouse, and he or she requests you send money to claim your prize… This IS a scam. You shouldn’t have to pay money upfront for winning.
- IRS Scam
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS that says you owe back taxes…This IS a scam. This is not how the IRS works. Any notification from the IRS will be received in writing for documentation purposes.
- Computer Virus Scam
If you receive a phone call from a computer company saying there is a virus on your computer, hang up. This IS a scam. If you receive a pop-up on your screen telling you there is a virus and you need to call a number, click out of the box or ‘hard shutdown” your system. DO NOT call the number or click on any links. Doing so will give scammers access to your information.
- Family Emergency Scam
If you ever get a call from or about a grandchild or any other relative in danger or trouble, and the immediate request is for cash… This IS a scam. Calm yourself and consult another family member first. If the emergency is by any chance real, you can still respond appropriately.
If you or someone you know thinks they have fallen prey to financial abuse or scams, do not hesitate to contact the authorities. The United States Department of Justice has a variety of resource pages available to help you determine what point of attack is best for you so that you don’t have to live in fear.
1 “Elder Financial Exploitation.” National Adult Protective Services Association, www.napsa-now.org/policy-advocacy/exploitation/.