Protecting your parents from becoming financial fraud victims

As our parents get older, we can find it increasingly important to check in with them and make sure they are doing well. If there is cause for concern, like a decline in their health, children will often do whatever they can to help them cope and/or recover. However, because they are our parents, it can be difficult for them to reach out for this help.

This is why it can be crucial for adult children to be proactive when it comes to protecting their parents from situations like financial fraud or abuse. Today, it is easier than ever for the elderly to get scammed out of huge amounts of money, which is why you will want to take a few critical steps to protect them, whether they have asked for that help explicitly or not.

  1. Talk to them: As people get older, they can become less familiar with technology and social media capabilities. This can leave them vulnerable to scams through email, Facebook or other outlets. Further, many can feel isolated or lonely, which can make them more likely to send money when they think they are helping someone. Talking to them frequently about staying safe online and as a way to check in can be critical.
  2. Become a financial partner: You can be your parent's best ally in avoiding financial abuse by working with them. This might involve less formal interactions like reviewing check registers for strange transactions or asking them about their financial habits, or more formal partnerships though co-signing agreements and durable powers of attorney.
  3. Keep your eyes peeled: Is your mom sharing odd sweepstakes-style posts on Facebook? Does your dad suddenly need more rides to the bank or post office? Are they being contacted more regularly by people you don't know? These can all be signs that they are being targeted by scammers.

There are other ways you can protect your parents, including those discussed in this Neurology Now article, that can make an enormous difference financially and emotionally. Not only can they shield parents from losing huge sums of money, but they can also prevent a parent from feeling the embarrassment or shame that can come with falling for a scam. In the end, protecting your parents from financial abuse and fraud can be one of the most important ways you can help them.

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