You or a loved one are at risk of a multi-billion dollar scamming system commonly known as “Elder Financial Abuse”. More than 70 percent of the nation’s wealth is controlled by people over 50 years old – a group that financial criminals are targeting heavily.
As financial advisors, we, at Pring Turner, are on guard about elder financial abuse because we have direct experience with related scamming attempts against our client family. That said, we remain informed and alert about evolving financial criminal threats, and committed to protecting our client portfolios against fraudulent activity.
This post aims to help you better understand elder financial abuse and prevent against related risks.
Three Key Points
1. What should you know
2. What you can do to help protect yourself and loved ones
3. Steps we take to safeguard our client’s valuable assets
Crucial Items to Know
The best shield against fraudulent activity is awareness.
So, first, what should you look out for? Financial criminals most commonly target people who lack familiarity with financial matters, are socially isolated, and, or, have a physical or cognitive impairment. We encourage you to be mindful of your loved ones that may identify with any of these factors.
Second, what are some known tactics that financial fraudsters use?
1. Electronic Scam: includes “phishing” telephone calls and email messages that seek to trick people into giving up their sensitive information such as social security numbers and passwords.
2. Emergency Scam: a victim is made to believe that a loved one needs immediate financial assistance (i.e. for a medical emergency, travel complication, college expense, etc.).
3. Lottery Scam: involves giving up sensitive information and/or paying taxes upfront in order to receive a prize or award.
Five Ways to Better Protect Yourself and Loved Ones
1. Plan Ahead: protect your valuable assets and have a structure in place to ensure your wishes are followed. Talk to your financial professionals (Attorney, financial advisor, etc.) to ensure your contingency plans are in order.
2. Designate a Power of Attorney: elect a trustworthy person to act on your behalf as an Agent, ensuring you have a back up for when any life emergency happens.
3. Don’t Rush: never make rash financial decisions. Before making a significant decision, require written instruction or details and get a second opinion from a trustworthy person or advisor.
4. Lock It Up: secure sensitive information such as checkbooks, account statements and tax documents.
5. Shred It: shred bank statements, credit card offers, receipts, address sections on junk mail, etc., before discarding any unwanted information.
What Your Financial Advisor Can Do to Protect You
Partnering with a financial advisor can provide added layers of protection against financial abuse. A seasoned financial advisor will actively monitor your investment portfolio for irregular activity and work closely with you and your trusted agents(s) to ensure your needs are met. Should any irregular activity occur, your financial advisor will contact you immediately to resolve the issue. That said, you can further support your financial advisor by maintaining an open line of communication about your account activity with them.
As financial advisors, protecting and growing our client’s wealth is our top priority and we are both watchful and challenged to deliver on that commitment every day. We are grateful for the trust our clients have placed in us and aim to safeguard them from elder financial abuse through proactive awareness and action.
DISCLOSURES: Pring Turner is an investment advisor in Walnut Creek, CA registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The views represented herein are the investment advisor’s own and all information is obtained from sources believed to be accurate and reliable. This information should not be considered a solicitation or offer to provide any service in any jurisdiction where it would be unlawful to do so. Past performance does not guarantee future results.