One of the biggest problems facing the country today is fraud. Sadly, the elderly generation is one of the most commonly targeted population groups. They are often eager for social interaction and quick to trust people. Fortunately, there are a few strategies that everyone can use to protect their parents from these unscrupulous individuals.
Think About Identity Protection First
The first step is to protect their identity. Try to sit down and go over the various credit reports with them. Make sure that there aren’t any suspicious accounts that might have been opened in their names. If there is a problem, help them place a freeze on their accounts. This will prevent new lines of credit from being opened in their names. Finally, make sure they don’t carry their social security cards around with them. Make sure they understand when it is okay to give out their social security number and when it isn’t. Their social security number is their lifeline.
Protect Their Phones
It is amazing the amount of information people have on their phones. Ensure that they are properly password protected. Ensure that their voicemail system is locked as well. Help parents figure out how to tell if a call should be ignored or answered. Don’t be afraid to ask them a few quick quiz questions to make sure they know how to use their phone properly. Finally, there are also apps that people can download onto their phones that will protect them from spam calls and text messages. This can go a long way toward protecting the sensitive information stored on their electronic devices.
Advocate for Them
One of the most important steps people can take to protect their parents from fraud is to be an advocate for them. Make sure that you are listed as a trusted contact on all important accounts. Talk to them about becoming a power of attorney on their various accounts. Be sure to authorize investment firms to provide duplicate statements that will allow you to review them for inaccuracies. Finally, make sure to check the credentials of the financial adviser as well. They should be a fiduciary, which is someone who is legally bound to act in the best interests of the client.
Upgrade their Phones, Computers, and Tablets
Elderly individuals are prone to letting their technology lapse because they are comfortable with the status quo. On the other hand, outdated software and technology will also leave them vulnerable to being attacked by hackers. Therefore, make sure there is the most recent generation of anti-virus software on the computer. Be sure there are strong passwords on all of their accounts as well. This will help them guard their most sensitive information.
Protecting Parents from Harm
These are some of the most important steps people can take to protect their parents from fraud. Sadly, today’s elderly population is vulnerable to being taken advantage of. Be sure to go over these steps to protect them from those who seek advantage of them.