Financial Fraud Targeting the Elderly
Americans of all ages are at risk of becoming victims of financial fraud. However, scam artists often target the elderly specifically. According to MarketWatch, an elderly fraud victim loses approximately $120,000 on average.
Collectively, financial exploitation costs older Americans $3 billion per year. Banks have a stake in protecting elderly customers from fraud as well. Perpetration of fraud against those over the age of 50 can cost financial institutions up to $1 billion per year.
However, some banks take the issue more seriously than others. You can serve as a facilitator, helping your parents choose a bank that will help protect their interests.
Be open and honest
You should have an upfront discussion with your parents about why you want to involve yourself in their financial matters. You do not want to go to the bank and try to discuss your parents’ finances without their knowledge. In the first place, the bank will probably not share any information with you, and in the second place, if your parents find out, they may suspect you of trying to steal from them.
Discussing the matter openly demonstrates that you have your parents’ interests at heart, but you still may meet with resistance. Your parents may think you lack confidence in their abilities to manage their own affairs. Explain to them that people of all ages become victims of fraud, and family members can help protect each other.
Talk to the bank manager
Once you have your parents’ permission to get involved, talk to the bank manager about what measures are in place to protect your parents from fraud. Many scam artists demand enormous amounts of money with the promise of receiving more later as a prize. Tellers are often the first line of defense against schemes like these. You can ask the bank manager what kind of training the tellers receive and how they handle requests to make large withdrawals.
Some states also allow your parents to designate you as a trusted person who can monitor account activity without accessing funds and become a point of contact for the bank about suspicious activity.