It’s easier than ever to handle our finances without setting foot inside a bank with so many advances in technology, but these changes have also made fraud and financial abuse a prevalent problem for older adults. Most elder financial abuse involves scams, forgery, identity theft, or undue pressure to give someone access to property or funds by simply providing information over the phone.
Seniors can protect themselves from financial abuse by making sure financial records are organized and being aware of how much money is in all accounts. In addition, you can protect your assets by talking to someone at Eastern Savings Bank, an attorney, or a financial advisor to discuss your options for ensuring your wishes for managing your money and property are followed in the event you become incapacitated. Other activities to help protect yourself include:
- Carefully choosing a trustworthy person to share your financial planning matters with so they can assist you with tracking your finances if you are unable to do so yourself.
- Locking up your checkbook, account statements, and other sensitive information.
- Ordering copies of your credit report to review for suspicious activity. (You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once every twelve months. To order your free annual reports, go to AnnualCreditReport.com or call toll- free 1.877.322.8228.)
- Never providing personal information, including your Social Security number, account numbers, or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call.
- Asking for details in writing and getting a second opinion from a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.
- Paying with checks or your Eastern Savings Bank debit Mastercard® instead of cash to have records of transactions.
For more information, visit: fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/april2019.html