0622_Senior Life Digital Edition - Page 15

Protect yourself and your elders from financial abuse

By Anthony Johnson , Banner Bank

If you ’ re not 65 or older , odds are you care about someone who is — a parent , grandparent , neighbor or friend . This demographic is so often the target of financial exploitation , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has named financial elder abuse a public health crisis .

As a longtime Sacramento banker , I ’ m particularly aware of elder financial abuse and know our team members play a vital role in protecting against it . Training employees to be alert to potential exploitation is one of many ways financial institutions invest in fraud prevention . But we need your help . Beyond the following tips , I encourage you to seek more information to protect yourself and those you care about .
Elder financial abuse can accompany other forms of abuse , and may even be perpetrated by someone close to the victim . It can also come from scammers who use phone calls , emails , texts and social media to obtain personal information or manipulate a person into wiring funds , buying gift cards or otherwise sacrificing their savings .
Older members of our community are often trusting , may feel lonely , and may face physical or cognitive decline — all of which can make them vulnerable to abuse and scams . So let ’ s team up for safety .
Preventive steps :
Talk about it – If you have aging parents , start a conversation about money . Listen , ask their advice and ease into deeper issues . As you age , talk with your younger loved ones . An open dialog makes it easier if the time comes to add a trusted individual to financial accounts or assign power of attorney .
Keep connected – Social interactions are essential to well-being . Just as you hope to continue socializing with friends , encourage those you care about to stay engaged . Check on the seniors in your life so you can note any changes .
Remain vigilant – Monitor accounts and voice concerns . Watch for large withdrawals , unusual purchases , changes in wills , and bills going unpaid . As family members divide responsibilities to assist a loved one , set expectations and ground rules . Call 911 if physical danger is imminent .
Common elder fraud scams :
Imposter scams – Someone poses as a relative in urgent need of money for bail or medical care . Or they pretend to be the IRS , a computer technician or even a neighbor asking for money .
Winner scams – You get a phone call or email saying you ’ ve won a prize , but have to send money to claim it .
Romance scams – Con artists use social media or dating sites to charm people and get them to send money , often without meeting in person .
Quick reminders :
• Scammers trick caller ID so phone calls appear to come from a business or person you know . If a phone call sounds odd or you feel pressured , hang up .
• They ’ re also skilled at making fraudulent emails look legitimate . Never click on links in emails .
• Never give personal information to people requesting it by email , text or phone .
• Your bank , the IRS and the Social Security Administration will never call , text or email you for information such as your Social Security or account number .
Resources :
Sponsored Financial Content
• Federal Trade Commission : FTC . gov
• National Adult Protective Services Association : napsa-now . org
• AARP Fraud Watch Network : AARP . org / money / scams-fraud
Don ’ t hesitate to talk to your banker . In addition to keeping tabs on current scams and resources , we want to help and protect our clients .
Anthony Johnson is a Banner Bank Senior Vice President and Retail Division Manager serving the greater Sacramento area . Reach Anthony at anthony . johnson @ bannerbank . com or 916-917-8348 . Bannerbank . com
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