One of the most painful aspects of life that the elderly in Massachusetts face is the prevalence of scammers who seek to prey on their life savings. Here is some information about fraud on the elderly and some of the solutions that elderly people and their families can use to protect their assets and peace of mind.
Senior citizens are attractive victims to con artists, according to the FBI, because they often own their home and have accumulated savings over the course of their lives. Seniors may lack the technological savvy to recognize fraudulent information or avoid click-bait traps. Once a senior falls victim to a scam, she may not know where to turn and may fear reporting that she has been scammed in the belief that it will undermine her family’s belief in her ability to take care of herself.
The Wall Street Journal offers advice about how to avoid scams and what family members can do if they believe someone they love is being defrauded. One tool to aid in the detection and mitigation of fraud is a power of attorney. An elderly person can grant a power of attorney to a trusted family member or friend that allows the holder to access banking information, view transactions and make financial decisions. A person who holds a power of attorney can monitor bank accounts and other assets for unusual payments that can signal a scam and report fraud to the police and banking authorities.
In cases where no power of attorney exists, caring family members can still help fight fraud by talking about common types of scams with elderly loved ones and teaching them how to avoid falling prey. A person who believes an elderly loved one is being scammed should approach the subject with caring and concern rather than anger and frustration.