12 Tips to Protect Your Aging Parent from Financial Exploitation

by Dale on September 6, 2011


I was helping an elderly friend move from a flooded apartment this week.   On 2 consecutive days, as we worked together, she received calls that were  scams.  Each time, she handed the phone over to me, and   I quietly listened to the distressing pitches.   I then told each caller that I was reporting their call to the community s Executive Director, and to  please stop doing this to our elderly.  Financial exploitation is a terrible crime.   I hope that today s article will raise your awareness and enable you to take the right action now so you can prevent your loved one from becoming the next victim.


Know that there are 2 key risk factors that make the elderly especially vulnerable to scammers.   Social isolation and dementia.   Scammers are very attuned to this.   They call with a charming manner, using key phrases that are disarming.   You are one of a select few eligible for this special grant.    I am calling from The Safety & Security company  or even more confusing for the elderly, I am calling from Medicare. 


Here are 12 ways you can prevent financial abuse from happening to your loved ones.


  • Stay in frequent contact with elderly relatives, and keep lines of communication open.


  • Be observant and perceptive about any physical or behavioral change.


  • Choose any caregiver carefully. Never select one through an ad. Use a licensed, bonded agency. Hire an investigator to ensure the potential caregiver is not a convicted felon.


  • Keep a photographed inventory of all jewelry in a locked box.


  • Use a criss-cross shredder on any paperwork containing identifying information.


  • Protect incoming and outgoing mail. Getting a Post Office box is a good preventive measure.


  • Obtain a credit search for your parent 2-3 times a year.


  • Have Caller Id on the phone. Teach your parents to not answer unknown  or out of area . Tell them that scam artists use the phone as a weapon, and it is OK to hang up on someone.


  • Tell them You will NEVER win a foreign lottery .


  • Have a duplicate copy of their banking account statements sent to a trusted family member.


  • Tell them to not assume a handyman is to be trusted, even if he has a wonderful name and is charming. Check the Better Business Bureau and state licensing. Always get 3 estimates. Obtain a written contract. And, never pay more than 10% or $1,000 up-front, whichever is less.


  • Have a second line of defense at their front door (a peephole or locked screen door).


Report any suspected mistreatment immediately by contacting the Helpline for your state.


Let’s continue this conversation on our  Transition Aging Parents Facebook fan page. Please share an experience, story or tip that may help others.  Thank you!





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