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Educational tips to avoid financial elder abuse

It is important for our seniors to be protected from financial elder abuse. The last blog provided information on how to begin the discussion with your parents or loved ones about this sensitive topic. Here are some more tips.

Educate on best practices to avoid scams

  • Establish possible perpetrators of financial fraud, such as:
    • Door-to-door solicitors
    • Calls, text messages or emails from unknown numbers
    • Unstable relatives, friends or neighbors
    • Caregivers in hospitals, assisted living facilities or nursing homes
  • Warn your parents about people who want to be added to a bank account, change a will or otherwise gain access to personal information/finances. They have the right to refuse this and should contact authorities if it happens.
  • Warn against signing documents without an attorney.
  • Advise using Google searches to determine if a retailer or organization is legitimate.
  • Warn against sharing passwords or keeping them out in the open.
  • Advise your parents against sharing their Social Security numbers with anyone.
  • Put your parent's phone number on the Commission's National do-not-call registry. You can also purchase smartphone applications that may help block spam calls.
  • Review how your parents can monitor their bank account for new or unusual credit card changes or cash withdrawals. Otherwise, set up an appointment for your parents to review their accounts with their banker.
  • Teach your parents about technological advancements that may make preventing scams easier, such as Google's AI demo for an automatic assistant that interacts with people naturally.
  • Advise against agreeing to any verbal or written proposal they do not fully understand--especially if it sounds too good to be true.

It can be difficult to know what to do after your parents become financial fraud victims. You can decrease the likelihood of an incident occurring by facilitating an open discussion with your parents about the threat and risks of financial abuse. Sitting down and talking through the protective measures they can take will also help them be prepared to handle a financial exploitation attempt if it does occur.

If you or your parents still hold concerns, an elder law attorney in Pennsylvania can help explain the current laws put in place to help seniors who have been subject to attempts or instances of elder abuse.

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