‘Tis the Season for Festive Fraud: 7 Tips for Caregivers to Protect Loved Ones
Sunday, November 13th marks the beginning of International Fraud Awareness Week. As a caregiver for an older friend or relative, one of the most important things you can do is educate yourself on the warning signs and help protect vulnerable loved ones.
In 2021, there were nearly 93,000 older victims of fraud, resulting in $1.7 billion in total losses. Crooks and scammers prey on older individuals, exploiting their vulnerabilities — hearing loss, health challenges or diminished mental capacity due to illness.
During the holiday season, fraud tends to peak with scams like fake shopping websites, gift card offers and unreputable “charities” trying to swindle your funds. But when you know what to look for, you can better protect yourself and the people you’re looking after.
Follow these tips to help protect against festive fraud:
Start the conversation. Talk to the person you care for about the dangers of fraud and the importance of keeping their assets under wraps. Make sure they know that it’s never okay to send cash, wire transfers or even gift cards to a stranger. Verify any payment requests they receive before they follow through.
Make sure personal details are kept confidential. From credit card numbers to Medicare information, conceal checkbooks, credit cards and personal documents so they’re not easily within reach.
Prioritize online safety. Doublecheck the URL of sites your loved ones are visiting and shopping for gifts. Take note of any suspicious offers that seem too good to be true.
Do research on your loved one’s behalf. If they want to make a purchase from a site or brand you’ve never heard of, take a few minutes to verify its legitimacy. For example, read reviews or look them up on the Better Business Bureau.
Help them choose payment methods. Is your loved one using a credit, a debit card or a service like PayPal to make an online purchase? Remember, credit cards have built-in protections should fraud occur. If possible, designate one card for all online purchases.
Practice phone safety. Does your loved one know how to handle a suspicious call? Go over some things they can say to a potential scammer or instruct them to hang up altogether. Reiterate that no one will ever ask for money or personal information over the phone.
Monitor accounts and financial statements. Set up alerts any time a credit card is used, or a cash withdrawal is made. This can help ensure swift action if they’re finances if there is ever a breach.
The gift of financial peace of mind
You’re playing a selfless role in caring for your loved one and looking after their financial health. But are you planning for your own life after retirement? The truth is sometimes your retirement savings and monthly Social Security benefits aren’t sufficient to live the lifestyle you envisioned. Depending on your age, a reverse mortgage loan may be the option you didn’t know you had.
A reverse mortgage lets you leverage your home’s equity, giving you access to funds that you can use today or as a line of credit whenever you need it. And best of all, no monthly loan payments are required. The borrower must keep up with loan obligations including taxes, insurance and maintenance.
Reach out to the loan specialists at Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC (RMF) to learn more about the benefits of a reverse mortgage. Call RMF at (888) 277-1567 today.
This content is sponsored by RMF, one of the nation’s leading reverse mortgage lenders. We are dedicated to helping older Americans live the retirement lifestyles that they imagined and deserve, in the comfort of their own homes. As a result of our commitment to providing an extraordinary and positive customer experience, we have earned a 98% customer satisfaction rating; a 5-star / Excellent score on Trustpilot; 4.5 out of 5 stars on LendingTree; and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Call (888) 277-1567 to speak with one of our experienced reverse mortgage specialists to learn about our retirement financing products and solutions.