Q: What is financial elder abuse?
A: When funds, property or assets of an older adult are illegally or improperly used for another person’s profit or gain, this is elder financial exploitation. Scammers steal billions from unsuspecting consumers every year. The impact can be financially and emotionally devastating, especially for older adults.
Q: How does AARP get involved?
A: Fighting fraud and identity theft is part of AARP’s commitment to promoting financial security among older Americans. The AARP Fraud Watch Network empowers consumers to spot and avoid scams, and provides support and guidance when fraud happens. In June, AARP Maryland collaborates with partners all over the state to raise awareness. ProtectWeek.org explains it all.
Q: What can an older adult, or close friends and family members, do?
A: Be aware and questioning. These acts are committed by strangers, caregivers and family members. Ensure all paid and family caregivers are well vetted and have your loved one’s interests in mind.
Treat unfamiliar phone calls, emails and texts as suspicious. Pros at gaining trust, scammers claim to be from government agencies, businesses and charities. Never give a donation to someone asking on the phone.
During the pandemic, scammers have offered opportunities for quicker access to the COVID-19 vaccine, and claim to be selling in-demand supplies, like face masks and test kits. They send text messages impersonating contact tracers warning that you’ve been exposed to the virus, trying to get information.
Financial exploitation isn’t always originated with a phone call or text. Monitor bank accounts and credit reports. Look for strange charges, even small ones.
Romance scams are on the rise. If a new love interest asks for money, it’s time to break up.
Vigilance against scammers is a powerful weapon. The AARP Fraud Watch Network offers proven tools and resources for free to anyone, regardless of membership. Visit our website, www.fraudwatchnetwork.org, or call the toll free helpline, 877-908-3360, to speak to a trained AARP volunteer.