Do you know how to protect yourself or a loved one who falls victim to elderly financial abuse? Here are some protective measures you can take, according to the New York State Department of Financial Services.
- Remember that legitimate sweepstakes do not ask for money upfront from winners.
- If you receive a phone call asking for help, speak to your family to find out if your grandchildren are out of town and in need of assistance.
- Never give any personal information to strangers over the telephone. Always withhold your birth date, social security number (even the last four digits), bank account information, or anything that might be used as a password or other identifier.
- Remember that legitimate charities will give you time to make a decision.
- Stop and do research before you share your health care information.
- Do not sign blank insurance claim forms.
- Give your insurance and Medicare information only to people who provided you with medical services.
- Examine drug packaging and ask your pharmacist or physician to examine the drug if you are skeptical about the packaging.
Financial advisors can take certain measures to prevent against financial abuse by trusted people, including:
- Looking out for changes in investment style, attitude, or caregiver activity.
- Frequently asking questions and paying close attention to older clients.
- Getting to know the family members and caregivers of your client.
Elders and family members can take other measures to prevent exploitation by trusted people, including:
- Have an objective third party look over financial statements.
- If you feel pressured to give up information or sign documents, talk to another family member that you feel comfortable with or contact a financial advisor.
- Be suspicious about anyone who has recently gained an interest in your life and/or finances.
- When hiring Caregivers, hire through a certified agency.
- If you feel something isn't right about the relationship between the caregiver and the elder, be prepared to fire the caregiver.
- Ask for and check references.
How to report elderly financial abuse
If you or someone you know has been or may be the victim of elder financial exploitation:
- Contact the New York Adult Protective Services (APS). APS is part of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, and their services are available to adults 18 and older. APS investigates and evaluates adults' needs and risks of harm, counsels victimized adults and their families, and provides case and financial management services. To find your local county Department of Social Services Adult Protective Services search Office of Children and Family Services. To find specific telephone numbers for your local APS unit, call (800) 342-3009 (press 6).
- To report potential criminal conduct, you may contact your district attorney or the Attorney General's Office. The New York State Attorney General's Office can be reached at (800) 771-7755.
- For questions related to investments, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has launched a toll-free FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors, offering assistance from FINRA staff. FINRA staff are available to answer questions from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. E.T., Monday through Friday. The FINRA Helpline number is (844) 57-HELPS or (844) 574-3577.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with Adirondack Bank. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. Adirondack Bank is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the information provided or the content of any third-party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. Adirondack Bank makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.