Fraud can have detrimental side effects for anyone but can be especially devastating for an elderly loved one. With the loss of independence being a central part of aging, one of the only things your loved one may still feel in control of are the assets he or she has carefully preserved.
Understanding your role in preventing fraud can help you know how to better protect the people you care about from suffering the disappointment of financial fraud.
Checking for discrepancies
When you periodically check financial statements, you can easily identify suspicious activity before it spirals out of control. According to Daily Caring, help your elderly family member check his or her credit score every year. You can review the documents together and verify that all activity mirrors your family member’s spending habits.
If you notice that your loved one has begun accumulating unpaid bills or you catch wind of collections agencies asking for money, you may want to take a closer look. Stay alert and involved in your family member’s life. Practice caution and urge your loved one to do the same if new friends or associates enter his or her life.
Dealing with fraud
At the first sign of fraudulent activity, take immediate action to prevent collateral damage. Because the side effects are bound to bring disappointment, uncertainty, confusion and even guilt to your family member, practice empathy as you handle the situation.
Report fraudulent activity to the appropriate authorities. You may consider involving a legal professional to help navigate the situation, especially if a significant loss has taken place.