In an effort to protect older Americans from financial abuse, Protect Week helps you identify, avoid and report financial exploitation. Identifying key abuse strategies is essential so that you can protect yourself and those you love from harm. Financial exploitation is the most common type of abuse of older Americans and the strategies that are employed are ever growing. Understanding the general strategies can prevent you from falling victim.
Solicitation of Money Transfers
Through emails and phone calls, there are multiple ways abusers will use requests for money transfers to try to get your financial information. Many tactics appeal to your emotions such as pretending to be a grandchild that is in need of money or individuals or organizations desperately needing help. Whenever you are unexpectedly asked to transfer money, you should ignore the request. If you feel it might be a valid request from someone close to you, call that person to confirm the request before taking any action.
Requests for Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
Red flags should go up in your head when someone asks you for PII, which is any data that could be used to identify you and access your financial information. You should never give out PII to someone you do not know and for purposes you do not understand. Examples of PII are your social security number, passport number, and bank account numbers. This information on its own, or combined with other information about you, such as email address or full name could lead to financial exploitation.
As you get older, it is important to establish trust and expectations with your caregivers regarding your care and financial situation. However, this is not always possible, especially if you are cared for by someone you are not close with. Be sure to safeguard your financial information such as bank accounts, credit cards and passwords so that caregivers cannot readily access it without your permission.
Becoming aware of the types of strategies used for financial exploitation will help you be less likely to become a victim. Explore our Protect Week website to learn about statistics and specific instances of financial abuse of older Americans. If you feel you have been abused, help is available at the Justice Department’s National Elder Fraud Hotline at (833) 372-8311 (833-FRAUD11).