Online banking, email and credit cards can be confusing, and financial scammers know this. But a few simple precautions can help keep the money of our elderly friends or relatives safe.
1. Unsolicited email
Older people are at risk of falling for ‘phishing’ emails, in which false identities are used to seek bank account details and other information. In one example, a fraudster offers to ‘pay handsomely’ to transfer a large sum (for ‘tax reasons’) via the victim’s account. Older, less experienced internet users are less likely to recognise such fraudulent emails and are well-advised not to reply to or open any unsolicited emails at all.
2. PIN and cards
Never give your card or PIN details to anyone, no matter who they claim to be. In a typical scam, a fraudster posing as a police or bank official phones an elderly person to say their card has been used fraudulently, then asks for PIN/bank details, thus gaining access to the funds. Remind elderly relatives that the police or their bank never want their card or PIN details.
3. Unlicensed financial advisors
Regulations regarding commission from sales have stopped many financial advisors scamming money from the elderly, but there are still rogues out there. Whether it’s a saving, investment, or tax-efficient savings advice, always be wary of unsolicited financial advisors. Contact a consumer watch organisation or check with the government body regulating financial institutions and advisors.
4. Signs an elderly relative is being scammed
These include: changed spending habits; they’re withdrawn when discussing money; start receiving extra junk mail after being added to a ‘sucker list’ by fraudsters; their behaviour around money shifts.