Collins Community Credit Union

Protecting Our Elders: Combating Financial Abuse in Today's World

Financial crimes exist in many shapes and forms. One of the most unfortunate cases of financial abuse is elder abuse, especially as our world continues to rapidly change. With social distancing now being considered our new “normal”, our elders are more vulnerable than ever to being targeted by criminals.

Published on Mar 25, 2020

So, how do you know if your family or friends are in danger? There are several ways to spot elder abuse. Be on the lookout for…

  • Unusual activity, including large, frequent or unexplained withdrawals.
  • Withdrawals from accounts or transfers between accounts that can’t be explained.
  • Do they have a “new friend” who’s suddenly attempting to conduct transactions on their behalf?
  • Sudden unpaid bills.
  • Attempts to wire large sums of money.

How can you help keep your loved ones safe?

Talk Money

  • If you’re concerned about an older family member or friend being targeted for financial abuse, encourage them to speak up! Check-in with them from time to time and make sure they’re doing okay.
  • A great way to connect while staying healthy (social distancing!) is to get together on a video chat or just give them a call.
  • Encourage them to speak with a representative at their local financial institution, wealth management advisor, or an attorney to learn about options for protection.

What can elders do to protect themselves?

  • Shred receipts and bank statements before disposing of them.
  • Invest in a home safe to store important financial documents.
  • Stay on top of their credit report and review it at least once a year.
  • NEVER give out personal information (SSN, account numbers, etc.) over the phone UNLESS they initiated the call and the other party is reputable.
  • Keep a paper trail of payments made with credit cards or checks.
  • Trust their instincts! If something feels off, it may not be right. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Regardless of age, everyone should feel comfortable and secure with their finances. Our team is dedicated to protecting your financial information and well-being, especially in today’s environment.

If you suspect a friend or family member may be at risk of financial abuse, or have concerns yourself, the Dependent Adult Protective Services (Iowa Department of Human Services) can be reached toll-free, 24 hours a day at 1-800-362-2178 .

-Jordan Anderson, Product Specialist

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