Protecting Elders from Scams | 3 Quick Tips

Protecting Elders from Scams | 3 Quick Tips

by Angela Bass, April 4, 2016

Quick tips from a Wells Fargo VP

When asked what elders can do to protect themselves from the scammers in our midst, a vice president of Wells Fargo bank, Kevin Lee, responded with the following quick tips:

Look your bank in the eye

Try to do some, if not most, of your banking in person. Online and phone services are great and even necessary at times, but it pays to go inside the bank every now and then. This way, the people who handle your money can put a name to your face — and vice versa. Plus, your friendly banker is more likely to notice an out-of-character charge on your account if they know you and what you tend to spend your money on. Elders are more likely to report suspicious activity to a banker they know on a more personal level. So, go ahead and look your bank in the eyes.

Create a paper trail

When seniors write checks at the grocery store to pay for their items, they are often (knowingly) creating a paper trail that will help them keep track of purchases they have made — and those they have not. Lee says checks can be an elder’s best friend (granted there’s no threat of forgery, of course). Sure, swiping a debit card would be a much faster way to check out and be on one’s way. But elders aren’t in as much of a hurry as the rest of us, and they need to keep track of their finances in a way that works for them. Most seniors are comfortable with doing so, even if it slows the line down for a few minutes.

Get out and socialize

With 60 to 90 percent of all elder abuse being carried out by trusted relatives, it’s crucial for elders to keep close ties to people outside of their immediate family circle. The key is to keep a mixture of trustworthy relatives and friends in one’s social circle. That way, elders aren’t depending on just one group of people to help look out for their best interests. Nonprofit organizations such as the Elders Learning Community serve isolated elders in California. Twice a month, they bring together adults ages 65 and up for art projects and museum visits, while also providing light case management for those facing financial or other forms of abuse.

The FBI’s got your back

Lee not only has banking expertise, but he also sits on the board of Seniors First, an Auburn, CA-based nonprofit that works to protect seniors from fraud. To help you figure out if you’ve been the victim of a scam, the FBI has put together this list of scams that commonly target senior citizens. It’s worth a read if you’re trying to straighten out an issue you may have recently faced.



For more articles on insurance scams

Need more help? Read:
5 Ways Strangers Scam the Elderly
Financial Scams Targeting the Elderly


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This information is provided for general consumer educational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice.


Angela Bass

Angela Bass

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Angela joined Asurea as the Content Marketing Writer in September 2015. She is also a freelance multimedia journalist, having written and produced stories for Land & People Magazine, The Baltimore Sun, California Health Report, NPR's Latino USA, PRI's The World and KALW's Crosscurrents, among others. In 2014, she founded Storybrook Media, which provides video production services to nonprofits and small businesses. She holds a Master’s in Journalism from UC Berkeley and a BA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State.
Angela Bass