In recognition of Elder Abuse Awareness Month, we’re outlining some warning signs to watch out for so you can protect yourself and those you love.

What is elder financial abuse?

The U.S. Justice Department defines elder financial abuse as any improper use of an adult’s finances and property, either without their consent or through manipulative and threatening measures. Sadly, they estimate one in ten seniors will be victimized, and worse yet, 60 percent of abusers will be family members. Next to neglect, financial exploitation is the most common form of elder abuse, but you may be able to prevent it if you follow these simple tips.

Use Caution with Newcomers

Scammers may come in the form of new friends looking to gain your trust to get access to confidential information. Be cautious around newcomers and never give out personal information such as your social security number, bank account number, debit card PIN, and other financial information.

Look for Unusual Transactions

You can often stop a scam attempt by staying current on your account activity. Carefully review your account statements regularly and look for unusual transactions. If something catches your eye, you can contact your local banker to take the necessary steps to complete a dispute and stop further charges.

Take Note of Telephone Scams

Robo-callers and telephone tricksters cost U.S. consumers nearly $30 billion in 2020. These fraudsters deceived victims into giving out sensitive financial and personal information over the phone using a variety of tactics, including claims that the victim won a prize, needed to renew an auto warranty, or was in trouble with creditors or the IRS. These claims are bogus, but scammers are savvy, so staying vigilant is key. Remember, never give out personal information over the phone.

Technological Trouble

Scammers are taking advantage of our increased dependence on technology, so it’s imperative to use caution with tech. For example, a common scam involves a pop-up alert or phone call informing the victim of a potential computer virus. The fake tech support representative requests payment to remove the supposed virus when, in reality, they’re seeking money and financial information. Avoid this scam by purchasing legitimate virus software from a trusted retailer. Alternatively, take your device to a qualified tech repair center if you suspect it may be compromised.

Stay in Touch

Often, abusers will want to isolate victims, so they’re less likely to get help. If you are elderly, it’s a good idea to stay in contact with trusted family and friends and be wary of anyone who intends to separate you from your support circle. Similarly, if you are a family member or close friend of a senior, keep in regular contact with them. You could be thwarting a fraudster by simply calling or paying a visit to your loved one.

Remember, Elder Abuse, financial or otherwise, is a sad reality. Knowing the warning signs of abuse can keep yourself, your friends, and your family safe.  For additional support and resources, please visit the links below.

If you feel you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact FirstBank’s 24-hour customer service line at 1-800-964-3444.

“This page may contain links to external websites. These links are displayed for your convenience. FirstBank does not manage these sites and assumes no responsibility for the content, links, privacy policy, or security policy.”