When it comes to picking someone’s pocket, the days of physically reaching for someone’s wallet seem to be waning. These days the “pocket pickers” can be a lot more advanced in their efforts.
There’s a lot of news out there about elder fraud, but the truth is that you don’t have to be older to fall victim to an online or email scam. The problem is that older people might be more likely to fall for them…just because they’re not as well informed.
In our business, we’ve helped clients deal with fraud attempts – both phone scams and email phishing – and it can happen to anyone at any age. What we’ve found is that just as devastating as the financial loss is the emotional betrayal that comes with it; realizing you’re not as safe and secure as you thought you were can be hard to deal with.
Having the Money Talk
As an adult child, you might have already experienced the discomfort of financial discussions with your parents because, unfortunately, there is a stigma surrounding an open dialogue about money. However, talking to your parents about their finances is incredibly important not only to determine that you’re well-informed of their situation should something happen, but also to keep them informed of current fraud trends. Developing that level of comfort might also make them more likely to confide in you if they fall victim to a scam.
A few other things you might be able to do:
- Have a checklist next to their phone and/or computer that reminds the parent of what they should do before handing over valuable information. In the moment, they might feel more reactive and forget.
- Help your parents with password protection. Maybe educate them on the apps available to them that will help them keep everything straight.
- AARP suggests the following: Put your parents’ addresses on opt-out lists with the Direct Marketing Association. Once done, legitimate vendors won’t send junk mail, and parents will know that what arrives is likely from scammers. That mail should be reported to the S. Postal Inspection Service.
Staying on Top of Money Issues
Again, it all starts with opening up the money dialogue which we know can sometimes be tricky. Working with an advisor who can mediate some of these discussions might help you get started. Once you do, your parents are more likely to come to you should something happen. These discussions also allow you to stay more organized as your parents age so that you stay informed of their situation.
Ready to start that discussion? Let us know how we can help: info@DenverPWM.com.
Denver Private Wealth Management is an independent fee-based financial planning practice with 50+ years of experience in the financial industry. DWPM customizes portfolios based on your financial goals and works closely with you, your tax advisors and estate attorneys to form a comprehensive view of your financial situation. For more information or to set up a free consultation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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