Among the dozens of tasks adult caregivers face is a new worry – phone scammers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are roughly 43.5 million unpaid caregivers of adults ages 65 and older in the U.S. That means there are a lot of adult children caring for their parents in this country.
As an elder care attorney, my practice is focused on helping aging adults prepare for their elder years, which means helping to securely protect their assets. Very often I work with the adult children caregivers. Even if your parents aren’t forthcoming about wanting or needing your help with their financial affairs, they may desperately need your help to avoid being victimized by the unscrupulous scammers that routinely target the elderly.
Protect Your Parents From Scammers
With the holidays coming, scammers ramp up their efforts and target the elderly with a vengeance. There are things you can do to help protect your parents, especially those who are not digitally savvy.
First and foremost you can safeguard their phones. Make sure your parents have a voicemail system and make sure all of your parent’s family and friends phone numbers are entered into their cell phone or answering machine so that incoming callers’ names are displayed. Also emphasize the importance of not answering any calls if there is not a name they recognize on the screen. You can also help by keeping them informed about common scenarios scammers use on the elderly. There is one popular scam where a caller pretends to be a grandchild and asks them to send money. The caller, pretending to be a grandchild, also asks the grandparent not to tell anybody.
Another way to help is to put a credit freeze in place so that new credit cannot be opened in their names. If they are computer literate, make sure their computers are running the latest updates. Also, make sure that their wi-fi network is password protected.
Parents are not always receptive to turn over power of attorney on their finances until they are unable to take care of things themselves. But, there are so many other ways to help. You can also ask your parents if their assets are legally protected and guide them toward taking action to do so if they haven’t done so.