In recognition of Elder Abuse Awareness Month this June, we're sharing safe banking tips for seniors.
With the convenience of technology minimizing the need for routine trips into the branch, it has become easier than ever to take care of finances wherever we may be. With this advancement, comes a growing issue for older adults that may become susceptible to fraud and financial abuse.
According to the FDIC, most elder financial abuse involves forgery, scams, identity theft, or undue pressure to give someone access to funds or property by coercing them into providing personal information. Last year, senior financial abuse cost victims an estimated $2.9 billion as reported by the American Bankers Association.
The best way to protect seniors from financial abuse is being aware of how to do so. The first step for seniors to avoid financial abuse is to be proactive:
- Seniors can protect themselves by appointing a trustworthy person to share financial planning matters with, such as keeping track of finances and making financial decisions down the road, if the person may be unable to do so themselves.
- Get organized. Make sure financial records are in order and routinely review account balances.
- Never provide personal information, including your social security number, account number, PIN, online banking password, or other sensitive financial information in response to an unsolicited request. This may be over the phone, in an email, or through a text message.
- Lock up checkbooks, account statements, and sensitive bank documents when not in use.
- Order copies of your credit report to review activity.
- Talk to a Middlesex banker about your financial management options.
Friends and family members can help by understanding the warning signs of how an older person may be financially taken advantage of. The best way to do that is to be prepared:
- If asked to assist with financial matters, routinely review account statement activity for unexplained account withdrawals, transfers or disappearance of funds.
- Be aware of changes in behavior with finances, such as another individual suddenly making decisions on the person’s behalf.
- Review signatures on checks to make sure they are not suspicious.
- Be mindful of sudden changes to a will or other important financial documents.
If you suspect senior abuse, talk to the individual to determine who is involved and what has happened. Contact us at 1-877-463-6287 or any other financial institution that may be involved as soon as possible for further assistance.
For more information on scams and what to look out for, please visit our Security Center.