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  • ELIZABETH EDWARDS

5 Easy-Peasy Tips & Tricks to Protect Your Parents from Scams


One of the areas I am noticing is the most vulnerable area for the population I work with - Seniors/Solo Agers - is staying aware of the myriad of different scamming situations they are hit with.


The five main areas I have found are where my target population seems to be the most vulnerable also have easy and quick solutions:


False Emails: Emails sent from an address that looks legitimate, perhaps stating they are from Social Security, the U.S.P.S., or even your parent's bank.


Inform your loved ones not to open them until you can see where they come from yourself, as once that email is clicked on and opened, it allows access to their system and further scamming capabilities.


False Texts: These can appear to come from places that your loved one may actually be connected with. They often contain links and advice on connecting with them so they can take care of the situation.


Once again, ask your loved one to let you see the text yourself OR instruct them to contact the specific bank or vendor to verify a text was sent. Once you have verified whether they are actual notices or scams, simply delete them.


Fake Telephone Calls: It is always interesting to me how a device that was made to communicate and we all used to love has become an object that we have to constantly screen for scammers.


A good rule of thumb is to instruct your aging parents to simply not answer the phone for anyone who isn't identified in their cell phone directory. If it is a valid call, someone will leave a message for them. Sometimes these messages are scams as well and will probably require review from you. This may take some time for you to navigate through the messages, however, if your loved one answers and gives out their information in an innocent conversation where they are being told there is a particular problem they need to take care of, you will spending much more time worrying about them.


Bill Payments Paid by Check & Mailed: Folks are now stealing other folks mail from their mailboxes, taking the bill payments with checks inside, and 'washing' the signature off the check. They then can cash it, leaving the bill unpaid and your loved one unaware.


The 'easy-peasy' stop for this is two-fold: a) inform your loved one that their mail needs to be dropped off at the local post office, not left in their open mailbox, and b) purchase a gel pen for your loved one to use when signing checks, These gel pens are extremely difficult to wash, and there are several brands to choose from on the market.


Online Shopping: If your loved one is an online shopper, they need to know that using a credit card is easier to track and recover expenses in the event of a hacker than a debit card. Also, once they enter their information to purchase and the purchase is made, it is advisable to delete the credit card information. The convenience of storing their information on websites may seem to be more appealing to your parents, but again, the cost of time and energy it takes to do this will be far less expensive and time consuming if someone steals your parent's information and orders online products.


No matter how much your parents may like to reminisce about the 'good old days' when things were different, those days are long gone. Protecting their finances and personal security, as well as your own, are something we all need to stay consistent with.


If you have aging parent(s) who may need a little help in organization or can no longer manage their finances alone, please contact Black Swan Money Management, proud member of AADMM, serving the Treasure Valley. We offer a FREE 30 minute consultation!


If you reside elsewhere, please contact AADMM.





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