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How To Protect Elderly Parents From Scammers

November 21, 2022

How to protect our aging parents against scams and fraud? Our parents need assistance in dealing with vicious scammers. Getting help from a trusted estate planning attorney in Orange County, Califirnia can help protect their savings and assets. Contact us today for a consultation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) estimates that seniors lose about $3 billion dollars to fraud each year. As your parents age, they are more likely to become targets of many different types of scams. Talking to your parents and meeting with an estate planning professional will help you keep their assets safe from scammers and con artists. 

Protecting your parents from scammers will put your mind at ease and prevent financial disasters. Here's how you can help.

Recognize Common Scams

Many scams now take place over the internet or through phone calls. Criminals now have more options than ever for contacting potential victims. How can you keep elderly relatives safe from this threat?

You can start by discussing common scams with your parents so they will be easier to recognize if they ever encounter them. There are endless types of scams in the world, but most of them are some variation of the following: 

Tech Support Scams

Some scammers pretend to be tech support experts so they can gain access to their victim's computers. They gain remote access to victims' computers and use that access to send money to themselves or collect personal information about the victim. 

Sweepstakes Scams

These scams target people by pretending they've won money or other large prizes. They will pretend that in order to claim your prize, you need to send them a small fee or give them your bank account number.

If something seems too good to be true, it might just be a scam.

Email Phishing

This is one of the most insidious kinds of scams. Criminals send emails that often convincingly mimic actual emails from a company, bank, or even the government.

They might include a link to a phishing website that aims to collect personal details like your passwords, credit card information, and more.

Phone Scams

Chances are, you've noticed an increase in robocalls and scam attempts over the phone. Bad actors are using those same schemes on your parents, hoping to fool them into sharing personal information over the phone. 

These phone calls will often ask for personal information immediately, which is a red flag. Real banks and government agencies won't need to ask for sensitive information over the phone when they call you.

Discuss Warning Signs of a Scam

Another tactic is to discuss the hallmarks of a scam. This will help your parents realize when something is wrong, so they can think twice before sharing their credit card information or any other sensitive personal information. These tips can help adults of any age recognize scams.

Time Limit or High-Pressure Situation

A scammer will often create a high-stakes situation where the elderly adult needs to act immediately. They could mention a deal that's about to expire, a grandchild that needs urgent help, or some other important request. 

The goal of putting pressure on someone is to stop them from thinking or consulting others. The scammers aim to get money or gift cards from their victims as quickly as possible.

Requesting Personal Information

When a bank or other institution contacts you by phone or email, they won't ask for sensitive information just to confirm your identity. If someone asks for your social security number or bank account information over the phone or by email, that's a red flag. 

Unexpected Contact

Most of the time, if your bank or the IRS contacts you, it's not a total surprise. You might be aware that you've been waiting for a new checkbook or that you have pending tax payments. 

If you aren't expecting a call or contact, stay on alert. Criminals often imitate officials to scare victims into complying and not asking questions.

Asking for Money

One of the most obvious signs of a scam is demanding funds. Most of the time, you'll know when you owe someone money. You'll be expecting a bill in the mail or through a trusted form of communication. 

If someone calls or emails to demand immediate payment or action, they may be a scammer.

Report Scams or Scam Attempts

If you recognize a scam, you can report it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

These institutions request that you submit information like emails and phone numbers. Reporting a scam doesn't mean you'll get your money back, but it does help law enforcement track down criminals and prevent other vulnerable people from theft. 

Protect Their Assets

One of the best ways to provide protection for your parents' finances is by helping them create a financial plan. An Orange County estate planning attorney can be your greatest ally when you need to think of ways to keep money and assets safe. 

Setting up an asset protection trust, for example, can be very useful if you are worried about your parents making risky decisions or losing money through scams.

Protecting your parents' assets means you won't have to worry about them losing their house, vehicles, or significant amounts of money. Some forms of asset protection can also help your parents keep their home even when dealing with high medical fees.

People of any age can benefit from asset protection especially elderly individuals who want to maintain their independence and live comfortably. An estate planning attorney can create personalized trusts that suit your unique needs.

Find a Reputable Estate Planning Attorney

Working with a skilled, experienced attorney will help you and your senior parents make smart financial decisions. In California, asset protection and other financial planning will keep your parents safe from scammers and other risks. 

McKenzie Legal & Financial was founded by an attorney who has decades of experience both in law and as a registered financial consultant. Our team will help you and your family members set up an estate plan and other financial protection.  

To schedule a consultation with our legal professional, contact us at 562-594-4200 at  McKenzie Legal & Financial today! 

Thomas McKenzie Law
Estate Planning Attorney in California. Full-service law firm specializing in estate plans, wills and trusts, long-term care, and financial consulting. Thomas L. McKenzie received his Juris Doctor degree from Western State University College of Law, in Fullerton, California. While working full-time at night and attending full-time daily classes, Tom graduated law school with honors in 1993.

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