Member Security and Fraud Prevention
Elder Financial Abuse Prevention Tips
According to the 2000 Census, one out of every seven Americans is a senior citizen. While those aged 60 and over make up 15 percent of the national population, a full 30 percent of all cases of fraud are committed against them. That’s twice the normal rate. Will this trend continue into the year 2010, when seniors are expected to comprise 18 percent of the population?
Why do cons target seniors?
- Accessibility – Being retired or suffering from physical problems, seniors are the group of people most likely to be at home to receive a telemarketer’s call or a visit from a door-to-door salesperson.
- Isolation – Isolation is an increasingly sad fact of life for seniors. Loneliness can sometimes cause them to reach out to telemarketers for company, and thus lay the groundwork for their being conned. Furthermore, seniors may not have regular contact with relatives and friends with whom they can discuss prospective investment schemes or financial affairs. They often have no one they can trust to double check their financial affairs. Con men prey on vunerability and loneliness. They may spend hours talking to prospective victims. At first, they try to get a small contribution and establish some sort of trusting relationship with an elderly person. They may even seek to substitute their guidance for that of a distant family member or friends.
- Declining Health – The declining health that comes with age makes it difficult for some seniors to leave their homes and deprives them of their ability to perform even simple household repairs. This can make the offer of chores performed by a traveling company or workman con-artist very difficult to resist. Declining mental health due to Alzheimer’s Disease or another ailment may make it difficult for seniors to remember whether they agreed to make a particular investment or to send a check for a cause.
- Money – Cons target seniors because they believe seniors have a ready and large supply of money from their life’s savings or they have valuable property. Investment schemes may appear particularly tempting to seniors because they are frequently on a fixed income but would like to make more money for their future security.
Some Tips to Help Prevent Elder Financial Abuse
- Many criminals know exactly when government checks arrive each month, and may pick that day to attack. Avoid this by using Direct Deposit, which sends your money directly from the government to the credit union. Contact us for more information.
- Never withdraw money from your credit union account for anyone except YOURSELF. Be wary of con artists and get-rich schemes that probably are too-good-to-be-true.
- You should store valuables in a Safe Deposit Box.
- Never give your money to someone who calls on you, identifying himself as a IHCU employee or official. IHCU will never ask you to remove your money. IHCU doesn’t want you to invite crime by having large amounts of cash around.
- When someone approaches you with a get-rich-quick-scheme involving some or all of YOUR savings, it is HIS or HER get-rich-quick-scheme. If it is a legitimate investment, the opportunity to contribute your funds will still be there tomorrow, after you have had time to consider it.
- If you have been swindled or conned, report the crime to your local police or Prosecuting Attorney’s office. Con-artists count on their victim’s reluctance to admit they’ve been duped, but if you delay you help them get away. Remember, if you never report the crime, they are free to cheat others again and again and you have no chance of ever getting your money back.