What You Need to Know
With the aging of the baby boomers and the silent generation, it has never been more important than now to start protecting parents from scammers. Many of the elderly have no clue about the vast array of internet and phone scams occurring today. They may not know they have been a victim of identity theft until it is too late. Protecting your parents from scammers is essential, not only to secure their assets but also their safety.
Your parents are not only vulnerable to criminal activities of scammers but to those of family members, as well. It may be a bitter pill to swallow, but, many times it is those who are the closest that engage in the worst illegal activities.
What can you do to ensure your parent’s financial, emotional, and physical safety from someone out to scam them?
Read on to learn what actions you can take.
Protecting Parents from Scammers Requires Communication
Elderly adults are one of the most targeted groups of scammers. Unfortunately, many of them never even realize what is happening. What is worse, is that it is often a close family member such as a child who is doing the scamming. It may seem harmless at first – mom mentions that your brother lost his job and needed rent money. Or, that your sister needed a new car, but, then the financial drain continues as more emergencies arise. Perhaps it is only a few hundred dollars here and there; but, that can add up over many months of years. Protecting parents from scammers who are family members is not as easy to accomplish as most parents are very protective of their children. The situation is exacerbated in the child involved has a history of problems or financial neediness.
Protecting elderly parents from siblings is only one avenue you may have to contend with. There is internet fraud, telephone scams, social security scams, identity fraud, and other ways in which your parents’ assets could be at risk.
Having “the talk” with your parents is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. Here are some of the issues that may arise:
- Your parents are used to being in control – they do not want to give up control over their finances.
- No one wants to admit they were taken. Pride can get in the way of acting on abusers of any type.
- Your parents will fear they are losing their edge and independence. They may be scared or embarrassed by what has happened.
- They may not believe that someone is after their money – especially when discussing elderly financial abuse by family members.
- Your parents may have no clue what is going on and may not believe you.
With so many odds stacked against you, how do you engage in open and positive communication with your parents?
It is not easy. You must sit down with them and discuss the situation. Do not blame or shame them. They will feel bad enough when they realized what has happened. Protecting parents from scammers is a challenging task, and you need to get them onboard.
Explain to them the importance of protecting their finances. Tell them why phone scams are not real. Let them know always to call and verify with a different family member if someone calls and says they are in trouble and need money. Not to take that person’s word for it. The caller could be a scam artist. Explain that any request for money that comes via mail or email should be discussed with you first.
Protecting elderly parents’ assets is not always easy, especially when other family members are involved. You may have to take legal steps to shield their money from others. Speaking with an elder law attorney is one of the best actions to take. Estate planning can save a considerable amount of stress and grief.
You also need to be aware of elder abuse and neglect by caregivers. It is a lot to take in and can seem like a daunting task. That is where legal guidance can lift much of the burden. Coral Springs attorneys Brodzki Jacobs & Brook are available to discuss your options. We are here to provide answers to your questions. Contact us at (954) 344-7737.