Seniors can prevent financial abuse and fraud
(NC) Anyone can be a victim of financial crime, but when it comes to financial abuse and fraud, seniors are one of the most targeted groups.
Protect yourself, or your loved ones, by taking a few simple steps, as follows:
Financial abuse can include taking money without permission, failing to repay money, misusing credit or debit cards or a Power of Attorney, or even pressuring a senior to sign legal documents that do not benefit them. It can be committed by a close friend, relative or caregiver who has access to their finances.
Protect yourself against financial abuse by keeping all passwords private—avoid writing them down or sharing them since cardholders are responsible for all authorized use of valid cards. Consult a lawyer before signing over any financial authority, and be cautious before opening a joint bank account. Use direct deposit for regular income, such as pension payments, and schedule preauthorized payments for monthly bills to reduce the time spent on banking.
Fraud is the most common type of crime committed against seniors. It can happen in person, as well as through email, phone calls and websites. Elderly people are often targeted during the day, when they are at home to answer the phone or door.
To reduce the risk of falling victim to fraud, never give out banking information in response to a phone call or email—banks do not contact clients directly to ask for these details. Be careful when disposing of old banking statements and bills; fraudsters can rummage through garbage, so be sure to shred them. And before hiring someone to work on your home, ask for proof of identity and references, and check them.
More tips on preventing financial crime, plus the steps to take if you become a victim, are available at itpaystoknow.gc.ca.
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