NBSB Provides Tips for Preventing Financial Abuse Among Elderly
In an effort to stop financial fraud that victimizes senior citizens, North Brookfield Savings Bank is offering some helpful guidelines.
Every year, millions of senior citizens are victims of financial fraud. In fact, studies show elder financial abuse costs seniors approximately $2.9 billion annually. NBSB is urging older customers and their trusted caregivers to safeguard all personal information and stay alert to the common signs of financial abuse. Specifically:
- Plan ahead to protect your assets and ensure your wishes are followed.Speak with someone at your financial institution, an attorney or financial advisor about your best options.
- Carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters.
- Lock up your checkbook, account statements and other sensitive information when others will be in your home.
- Never give personal information—including social security number, account numbers or other financial information—to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
- Never pay a fee or taxes to collect sweepstakes or lottery “winnings.”
- Never rush into a financial decision. Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion.
- Consult with a financial advisor or attorney before signing any documents you don’t understand.
- Get to know your banker and build a relationship with the people who handle your finances. They can look out for any suspicious activity related to your account.
- Check references and credentials before hiring anyone. Don’t allow workers to have access to your financial information.
- Pay with checks and credit cards instead of cash, to keep a paper trail.
- You have the right not to be threatened or intimidated. If you think someone close to you is trying to take control of your finances, call your local Adult Protective Services or tell someone at your bank.
Furthermore, if you believe you are a victim of financial abuse, be sure to:
- Talk to a trusted family member who has your best interests at heart.
- Talk to your attorney, doctor or an officer at your bank.
- Contact Adult Protective Services in your state or your local police for help.
“Financial abuse commonly occurs to the elderly who rely on others for help,” says Donna L. Boulanger, President & CEO, North Brookfield Savings Bank. “Unfortunately, this tends to make them susceptible to financial fraud. We here at NBSB are proud to join other financial institutions in helping curtail this dishonest practice.”