Financial exploitation is a fast-growing form of abuse of seniors and adults with disabilities. Cognitive impairment and the need for help with activities of daily living make victims more vulnerable to financial abuse.

While scams and frauds committed by strangers are common, the vast majority of abusers are family members or trusted others, such as:

  • Caretakers
  • Neighbors
  • Friends and acquaintances
  • Attorneys
  • Religious leaders
  • Doctors or nurses

Consider these effective ways to help prevent financial abuse:

Limit your exposure

  • Limit releasing your personal information to someone you know and trust.  If someone you know and trust asks for your social security number, date of birth, address, and other personal details ask them to explain why they need it, how they will use it and how they will protect your personal information.  If they can satisfy your understanding of their need for your information, you’ll be better prepared to decide whether to share.

Never talk to strangers

  • Be wary of all solicitations by mail, over the phone, email and even in person.
  • Never release information to strangers just because they ask for it.  Criminals will try to obtain not only bank account information, but personal information too.  Keep your social security number, date of birth, address, and other personal details secure.
  • Register your phone number with the Do Not Call registry. This will help to eliminate telemarketing calls https://www.donotcall.gov/

Do not trust the Caller ID

  • Scammers can make it look like the call is coming from someone you know, even a business or a government agency.  If someone calls needing something important, they will leave a message.  Call back to a number that you know is legitimate, not to the one left on your voicemail or on your Caller ID.

Review your bank account regularly

  • Access your statements and report any errors or unauthorized activity immediately.  We must hear from you no later than 60 days after we sent or made available to you the FIRST statement on which the problem or error appeared.

Don’t give your stuff away 

  • Never sign over property.
  • Always make sure that you have access to your own accounts, online banking, checkbooks, debit and credit cards.

Pay smart

  • Never send money or gift cards as payment. Legitimate companies will never request payment through gift cards. Scammers often request these forms of payment because they are easy, fast cash. 
  • Never send photos of gift cards, receipts for purchasing them or of the ‘scratch to reveal’ code on the back of a gift card.  With this information, the value of the card can be accessed and the money will be gone.

Take all the time that you need

  • The goal of the fraudsters is to evoke a sense of worry or fear so that you make uninformed decisions.
  • Be wary of offers that are too good to be true or require you to make swift actions or payments as these are usually fraudulent.
  • Any phone calls, text messages, or emails that are demanding should be reviewed with enhanced scrutiny.

Limit isolation

  • Talk to someone you trust.
  • Stay in touch with family members, relatives, coworkers, neighbors etc.