Our society is becoming more and more technologically advanced. While this is a great way to oversee finances, unfortunately seniors fall victim to financial scams far too often. Older Americans have the highest rates of fraud. In any given year, they make up nearly 25 percent of fraud complaints. Due to these unfortunate statistics, protecting finances for seniors is crucial.

This article from Lend EDU says to pay attention to credit reports and scores. Your credit report is an overview of your financial life over a certain number of years. Credit card and mortgage accounts, in addition to loans and even address history are all included in it. If your credit score drops unexpectedly, there could be fraudulent activity occurring. The three major credit agencies allow annual, free access online to view your full report. They can also assist with freezing credit.

Pay attention if your score unexpectedly drops for no apparent reason. Even the slightest changes to your report should be corrected immediately. You can check your credit report as little as once per year. However, it is highly recommended that seniors monitor theirs more frequently than that. This is something you may want to do for your loved one, especially if they are exhibiting dementia like symptoms or unusual behaviors.

Fraudulent activity doesn’t always show up on credit reports. Monitoring bank and credit card accounts monthly is just as important. When account information is compromised, this may be the first place criminals look to access cash quickly.  Licensed fiduciaries at Arizona Elder Care can assist in managing this for you.

We typically get requests for help after a loved one has lost large sums of money. One client was donating much of her estate to televangelists, something they didn’t have a history of doing. Another client kept giving out his credit card number, without confirming the legitimacy of the request. A third client put his caregiver in his will out of fear of losing her companionship.

Recognizing the higher risk of fraud and identity theft for seniors is crucial. Taking steps to prevent this sad reality is possible. Protecting finances from criminal activity is one of the most important tasks you can do as you or your loved ones age.

If you are aware of financial exploitation of a loved one, please call the police. You should also file a report with Adult Protective Services. Then please call Arizona Elder Care, so we can be of assistance.