While seniors and elders would prefer to be able to trust their closest friends and family, the fact is, those are the very people that may be hurting seniors and elders. Whether it is sons and/or daughters stealing from grandparents, or long-time friends suddenly in “dire” financial straits, elders and seniors should be more on guard against possible elder abuse. Of course, not everyone is out to get seniors and elders, but unfortunately, these people do exist. Even one person out to deprive an elder or senior of their money is far too many.
Here are tips elders, seniors, and their loved ones should know in order to help prevent elder abuse and fraud:
1. When hiring a caregiver, go through a licensed, bonded, and insured company – never use Craiglist or classified ads. Conduct thorough background checks, or if there already is one, find out how extensive and thorough it was.
2. Take photos of all your valuables and inventory it. Lock up or relocate all of your valuables if you are able.
3. When throwing away anything with your name, address, or any other personal information, shred it first. If your bank prints out your address and phone number on your checks, request that they print only your first initial and last name.
4. Protect your mail by using a post office box or locked mailbox.
5. Do not use credit cards in places where your credit card is removed from your direct sight in order to be swiped.
6. Perform credit checks two to three times a year.
7. If you have caller ID capability on your phone(s), use it. Do not answer calls from unknown numbers or private numbers.
8. If you received a notice stating you “won” some lottery with a check, it’s fake.
9. Never wire money or take out a pre-paid debit card for an unknown person.
10. Have someone you trust hold onto copies of your bank statements.
11. Before hiring someone or conducting business with someone, ensure that they are legitimate by verifying them with the Better Business Bureau and their state licensing board. Get estimates from three different companies and try to pay around only 10% up front, or as little as possible.
12. While this last tip may be obvious, it is still worth mentioning – don’t let strangers into your house, even if they’re law enforcement. You can confirm whether the people at your door really are law enforcement by asking for their badge numbers, names, and confirming the information with the police department.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of elder abuse or fraud, contact Evans Law Firm, Inc. for a free and confidential consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 415-441-8669. Evans Law Firm, Inc. handles financial and physical elder abuse, insurance/banking fraud, consumer class action fraud, qui tam (whistleblower/false claims) litigation, and other types of financial fraud.