According to Metlife’s Mature Market Institute, the financial loss by victims of elder financial crimes and exploitation exceeds $2.9 billion dollars annually.
With this reality comes the responsibility of prevention for many adult children. The ultimate question that arises is “what to do?”
Here are several steps you can take to protect yourself, or if you are an adult child, your aging parents, grandparents and older uncles and aunts from financial ruin.
1. Shred all mail. It is a well-known fact that identity theft is linked to pieces of information stolen from mail. A great preventative measure is to shred all mail containing sensitive information, or at least, dispose of them in a new way. If you are an adult child, collect your loved ones mail weekly and shred it yourself. The idea is to remove all chances of information falling into the wrong hands.
2. Oversee a budget. A monthly check through of all financial statements, credit cards and credit reports is good way to keep abreast of all changes, and possible illegal activity. For adult children: While preserving the sense of independence a parent or grandparent feels living by themselves or with an aide is important, it is more so important to keep them financially safe. A bi monthly check over of all financial statements may be a viable route: doing it together can strengthen their sense of control over their lives while keeping all in the green.
3. Forewarn them about scams. According to the National Council on Aging, financial scams targeting the elderly are the “crimes of the 21st century”. This truth requires both preemptive and offensive measures. In addition to overseeing financial statements bi-monthly, constantly talking about scams and other financial dangers will put them on alert. It is necessary to remember that this can happen to you; it happens to lots of “you”s everyday.
Not only are these three practical ideas are easy to implement, but substantial enough to make a difference.