With today’s difficult economy, scammers are getting more and more cunning in their tactics. This means that everyone, and especially elderly loved ones, needs to be on the lookout for these malicious frauds. But how can you help protect your loved ones from scams? Here are a few tips to help you help them.
1. Help them get organized – It is important that you and your elderly loved one know where important documents are. Do you know where your father’s pension plan papers are? Do you know where your parent’s marriage license is? Where do they keep their financial records? Where do they bank? If their information is organized and accessible to them and to you, they have taken the first step to protecting themselves.
2. Know how they are doing financially – As you help your parents get organized, try to get a feel for how they are doing financially. Figure out what’s coming in, what’s going out, and what happens with the extra. You all need to know is where the money is and know where it is going. If you notice big, one time spending amounts, it can throw up a red flag.
3. Establish an open communication regarding finances – You will be more likely to spot a scam than your parents. If possible, establish a relationship where they feel comfortable coming to you with questions about financial decisions. This will help you weed out much of the junk.
4. Help establish ground rules – Help your parents get into good financial habits. Suggest that they avoid payments over the phone or through the mail. Ask them if you could accompany them to any refinance or rental type of meetings. These habits will help keep you in the loop and keep them from being scammed. These rules may be a bit of an inconvenience, but hopefully they will be more of a helpful shield than a hindrance.