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Advice to Help Older Americans Avoid Financial Fraud

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People over 50 years old control over 70 percent of the nation’s wealth and fraudsters are finding new tactics to take advantage of the growing number of older Americans.  Bank employees are trained to identify red flags commonly associated with financial abuse, from unusual recent withdrawals to a new person accompanying the older customer to the bank.  However, elder financial abuse is best combated when bankers and customers work together.  To help this demographic protect themselves, Standard Bank offers the following tips:

 

  • Keep personal information private. Never share your social security number, account information, or personal details over the phone or internet, unless you initiated contact with a trusted source. 

 

    • Shred! Shred! Shred! Shred receipts, bank and credit card statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away so fraudsters can’t piece together your personal information.

 

    • Don’t let a so-called “advisor” pressure you. Never let a new or untrusted “advisor” pressure you into sharing personal or financial details.  Do your homework first before working with someone you are unfamiliar with.

 

    • Check your credit report. Consumers should check their credit report at least once a year to ensure no new credit cards or accounts have been opened by criminals in your name.  To receive a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.annualcreditreport.com, or call 877.322.8228.

 

  • Never rush into a financial decision. Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion from a trusted financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.