Did you know that more than 5 million seniors are victims of elder abuse annually?
In fact, the annual loss by victims of financial abuse is an estimated $36.5 billion!
That’s why it’s important to be vigilant and practice safe banking.
In today’s post, we’re sharing 3 safe banking tips for seniors.
Related: How to Protect Your Loved Ones From Elder Financial Abuse
Safe Banking Tip For Seniors #1: Don’t Share Personally Identifiable Information
Scammers can be very convincing, so be mindful of who you share your personal and financial information with.
Never share the following with anyone you don’t explicitly trust:
- Banking information
- Social security number
- Banking login information
It’s also a good idea to keep your checkbooks, paper statements, and other financial and personal paperwork in a secure location, such as a safe.
Safe Banking Tip #2: Choose a Trusted Power of Attorney
At some point, you may be unable to handle or make sound decisions about your finances.
This is why we recommend you appoint a reliable and trusted power of attorney to make the decisions you would have made or that are in your best interests.
Ideally, this person should be in good health, live close by (or able to travel quickly), and have sound decision making and communication skills.
For The American Bankers Association list of questions to consider before appointing a power of attorney, click here.
Safe Banking Tip #3: Be Mindful of Scams
Unfortunately, elder financial abuse is at an all time high. Scammers looking for a quick buck often take advantage of senior citizens.
To protect yourself, be mindful of these common scams.
Fake Check Scams
If you receive a check from a stranger, company, or acquaintance who asks you to deposit the money and then send a portion of it back, it’s likely a scam.
For example, these scammers might tell you you’ve won a prize, mail you a fake check, and ask you to send money back for taxes and fees.
Once the check bounces, you’re on the hook for the money you sent to the scammer plus penalties and fees.
Bottom line: if someone sends you a check and asks you to send back money, it’s a scam.
Imposter Scams occur when someone calls, texts, or emails you pretending to be a trusted friend, relative, bank associate, or government official.
The scammers usually ask you to wire money, put money on a gift card, or send cryptocurrency, understanding that these transactions can be difficult to undo.
Bottom line: be suspicious of any call, text, or email from a family member or government agency asking for money.
Like Imposter Scams, these scams usually involve emails, texts, or calls from companies or people you know.
The difference? These scammers want you to click on a link or provide personal information so they can gain access to your computer and potentially steal your identity.
Bottom line: never click on links in emails that
- Are missing your name
- From companies you don’t have an account or relationship with
- Use improper grammar or spelling
- Ask for personal information, including passwords
Practice safe banking by following these tips!
- Do not share personally identifiable information.
- Consider hiring a Power of Attorney
- Be mindful of elder financial scams
And remember: Persons Banking Company will never email or call you to ask for your banking passwords or financial information.
If you are a Persons Banking Company customer and believe you are a victim of a financial scam, please contact us at 877-753-9224.
You can also contact the Georgia Department of Human Services–Division of Aging Services.