Resources to Help Protect Older Adults from Financial Fraud and Abuse

Resources to Help Protect Older Adults from Financial Fraud and Abuse

Adult Protective Services (APS)
This team of first responders who investigate cases of elder abuse; the website provides fact sheets and contact information, as well as a checklist for indicators of possible financial abuse that should be reported.

AARP Fraud Watch Network
This newtork provides lists and descriptions of recent scams to beware of, links to resources and help, and quizzes to determine the user’s knowledge of and vulnerability to scammers. Users can also sign up for Watchdog Alerts that provide information about the latest scams and offer prevention tips to avoid them.

BillGuard
A mobile phone app that sends credit or debit card charges to the user’s email in real time, so they can keep track of any fraudulent or suspect charges. The app can also be used to track the physical location of where credit card charges are made and to alert users to other possibilities of financial fraud, such as if someone tries to sign up for a credit card or loan in their name. A caregiver could set up a parent’s card to sync to the caregiver’s email account, allowing them to monitor the loved one’s credit card discreetly and financial transactions without taking the card away.

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
A national not-for-profit organization authorized by Congress to regulate the securities industry. Provides fact sheets and brochures with quick, digestible information, such as “How to Spot a Scam in 6 Steps” and “Red Flags of Fraud.” Includes a game “Con ‘Em If You Can” to help people identify common tactics used to perpetuate fraud.

Financial Trade Commission (FTC)
The FTC’S Pass It On Campaign offers suggestions on preventing and protecting against the most common types of fraud and risky financial behavior, such as impostor scams, overspending, and identity theft. Each topic comes with a choice of articles, bookmarks, powerpoints and more to help illustrate the information. All materials are free and downloadable.

Investor Protection Trust

A national non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and educating investors. Includes brochures, pamphlets, and activities to help adults identify and protect themselves against fraud.

The Jolly Roger Telephone Company
An artificial intelligence system that allows people to patch telemarketers to a voice recording that can respond to the telemarketer. The program is able to sense tone and pauses in speech and responds with vague sounds like “mmm” or “sure,” or even occasionally claims to be “just woke[n] up from a nap, and still kind of groggy” and asks the caller to repeat what he or she had just said. This confuses the telemarketers and avoids the risk of scammers speaking directly to an older adult themselves, although the older adult would have to be cognizant enough to patch callers through to the system.

National Council on Aging (NCOA)
The NCOA has dedicated a portion of their website to helping seniors learn improved financial management skills and literacy. Includes the Savvy Seniors Saving Toolkit 2: Steps to Avoiding Scams. This toolkit and other educational materials can be downloaded for free and presented in workshop form.

OnGuard Online
A website by the federal government dedicated to keeping all Internet users safe online. Contains information about different types of scams and how to keep safe online, along with blog posts relating specifically to financial abuse of older adults. Offers videos and games to illustrate the principles of online safety.

True Link Financial
This company offers customizable debit cards that can be modified to work only for certain merchants and companies or only for certain kinds of purchases (e.g., no telephone or on-line purchases), effectively blocking telemarketers and scammers. A family member or user can also manage cash withdrawals and set spending limits, and he or she can see whatever a paid caregiver might spend on behalf of an older adult.

United States Senate Special Committee on Aging’s Fighting Fraud: U.S. Senate Aging Committee Identifies Top 10 Scams Targeting Our Nation’s Seniors
A report from the US Senate detailing different types of fraud in the US and how to combat them. Provides an extensive list of resources.

 

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