Protecting seniors against fraud

Senior identity theft and fraud are on the rise in the senior community, according to The Huffington Post. The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book found that in 2014, almost 30 percent of fraudulent complaints that were filed were made by adults over the age of 60. Furthermore, Applied Research & Consulting LLC. issued a report that discovered these seniors who were the targets of frauds were 34 percent more likely to lose money than their middle aged counterparts.

To alleviate the risk of fraud among seniors, it must first begin with a conversation. Many scams to the elderly are left unreported due to embarrassment or not even knowing they have been scammed, according to the FBI. It is important to educate your parents or grandparents about potential scams or how to recognize one that they may encounter. Each year the IRS issues the "dirty dozen" list of scams for the year and it is recommended you go over the list with your senior relatives. Some of the scams on this year's list include fake charities and phone scams, which could affect your loved ones.

Finally, help them monitor their credit card activity to recognize and act if there is any unusual financial activity. Unfortunately, even in today's modern age, if an offer or policy sounds too good to be real, it sometimes is.

"To help lower the risk of your parents [or grandparents] becoming fraud victims … talk frankly with your parents about common scam scenarios," The Huffington Post writes. "Tell them that the sooner they report a scam, the sooner law enforcement can stop the scammer and prevent him from targeting others."

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