Abuse of older Americans comes in many forms and it can be overwhelming to think of all the tactics a fraudster may use to obtain your personal and financial information. It’s important to keep track of current strategies of abuse but it is even more important to know the ways you can protect yourself on a daily basis. Here are some key ways you can help protect your identity and assets.
Be Cautions with Online Financial Transactions
Using the internet for banking and shopping is part of most people’s everyday lives. While you may have grown accustomed to entering your credit card or bank account information online, it is more important than ever to be very cautious when doing so. Especially making large purchases or money transfers, ensure you know the validity of the website you are on and that transactions on the site are secure. If the website is not a company you know well, you can search the internet for reviews of the site or check with the Better Business Bureau.
Have Estate Documents and Important Financial Information in Order
Regardless of your situation in life – children or no children, single or married – you must have organized and written plans for your financial assets and power of attorney. Take the time to meet with an estate planner or lawyer to identify specifics of who can make financial and health decisions on your behalf. This will help prevent someone else from taking advantage of you if you become ill. It is also important to create a place to safely store your important passwords. This may be a small notebook you keep somewhere safe or a digital application on your computer or phone. This will help you remember how to log in to bank accounts or other accounts containing sensitive information.
Talk to Friends or Family Members you can Trust
Now that you have taken the time to organize your estate and protect your passwords, it’s time to identify who you can trust this information with. Identify one or more family members that you believe have respect and good intentions for you and the life you have built. Share with them where your power of attorney and will documents are located and review the specifications contained in them. Of you feel comfortable, let them know where your password list is stored. Let these loved ones help you in your later years make decisions on large purchases and consult them when you are asked to provide your personal or financial information to anyone you do not know. Building a rapport with this person regarding the risks of abuse of older Americans will help them protect you in the future, as they will more easily identify any red flags.
Protect Week is here to provide you with resources and support to defend against abuse of older Americans. Learning what actions to take today, can save your future. Be careful with all online transactions, have a plan for what should happen if you encounter health issues and identify family members or close friends you can trust. For more help, explore the Protect Week website or call us with specific questions. We are here to serve you in all phases of life.