You just heard in the news that another senior citizen has fallen victim to yet another scam so now you must find a way to help keep your elderly parent safe. You want to be able to give them as much independence as possible, but you also need to watch what they do, and who they do it with. As a child with an elderly parent you need to be one step ahead of them at all times. While their memory may not be fading, it is still a good idea to educate them on how to stay protected from identity theft and other scams.
Nonetheless, even if you elderly family member is still completely competent, you have to be the one to help them understand about the many scams affecting seniors; this way they can warn their friends. To help bring to light the importance of fighting fraud against the elderly, the Federal Trade Commission held another conference before the Subcommittee to help educate businesses, law enforcement and consumers on the many scams affecting seniors. The goal of the meeting to raise awareness so that people will spread the word.
Among some of the threats, the FTC points out that seniors are the target of illegal robo-calls offering healthcare products at a discount, fake prize sweepstakes, third party debt collection, shop at home catalog sales, fake family friend scams, as well as mortgage scams. While some seniors may believe they aren’t being scammed, according to FTC complaints, scammers use these gimmicks to get seniors to provide not just their money but their personal information which ultimately could lead to identity theft. If your parents are elderly it is imperative that you tell them to ignore anyone claiming to be from a well-known company or government agency because they are impostors. Unfortunately, scammers use aggressive telemarketers, threatening emails, or letters and may even show up on your doorstep. For more information view the full FTC committee meeting report
Although you might have warned your elderly loved one about the latest scams, it might be best to take matters into your own hands to ensure they are safe from identity theft at all times. One way you can ensure their banking purchases are secure is to sign them up for the True Link card which is an actual prepaid visa that allows you to block certain transactions that could be unsafe, including the use of international transfers, wire transfers and charitable donations. With this card you will not only stop your elderly family member from exposing their personal bank card information, but will also be helping them avoid spending their money on scams.
Altogether protecting your loved one from identity theft is a full time job, so you need to keep yourself up to date on the latest scams. To help raise awareness the FTC has created an online resource page where you can get materials to help you spread the word on identity theft and protection from the many scams affecting consumers. For a list of the many free resources to protect your identity visit the FTC’s Pass it On page. On this page you will find free print out pieces you can order to help spread the word.