Financial Planning for Alzheimer's

How to Protect Your Parents From Financial Scams

Follow these tips to help your parents avoid becoming victims.

Intense marketing too often crosses the line into fraud. Seniors can be ripped off via fraudulent telephone solicitations, with offers of mortgage “help” to avoid foreclosure and even at free-lunch investing seminars. According to a MetLife Mature Market Institute survey of reported swindles, 51% of the scammers were strangers, but 34% were family, friends or neighbors. Here’s what you can do:

Tell your parents you want to protect them by helping them go through their mail and monitor their accounts for unusual activity. Help them get copies of their credit reports at www.annualcreditreport.com to make sure they aren’t victims of identity theft.

Put your parents on do-not-call lists. Most telemarketers will stop calling once a number has been on the National Do Not Call Registry for 31 days. You can register home and cell-phone numbers free at www.donotcall.gov or by calling 888-382-1222.

Offer to help your folks develop a spending plan (don’t call it a budget). This will give you a chance to see how much money is coming in and how they’re spending it.

Warn them about free-lunch seminars at which they could fall prey to a high-pressure sales presentation. If they’ve already been targeted, contact the salesman and ask him to stop calling.

If you suspect investment fraud, contact the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy at 800-732-0330, your state’s securities regulators (you’ll find links to regulators at www.nasaa.org) or your state’s Adult Protective Services, the agency that investigates reports of elderly financial abuse. To find your state Adult Protective Services office, visit the Web site of the U.S. Administration on Aging’s National Center on Elder Abuse or call the elder-care locator at 800-677-1116.

This article first appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. For more help with your personal finances and investments, please subscribe to the magazine. It might be the best investment you ever make.

Most Popular

Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
How to Calculate the Break-Even Age for Taking Social Security
social security

How to Calculate the Break-Even Age for Taking Social Security

When it comes to maximizing your Social Security benefits, there are many elements to consider. One factor that can be especially enlightening is your…
August 30, 2021
Spend Without Worry in Retirement
Financial Planning

Spend Without Worry in Retirement

Fears of running out of money prevent many retirees from tapping the nest egg they’ve worked a lifetime to save. With these strategies, you can genera…
August 30, 2021

Recommended

How Exactly Do You Stress-Test Your Financial Plan?
retirement planning

How Exactly Do You Stress-Test Your Financial Plan?

Some tasks are not good for DIYers, and stress-testing your portfolio is probably one of them. Because individuals don’t have access to the same tools…
September 18, 2021
What Is the Social Security COLA?
retirement

What Is the Social Security COLA?

This year especially, cost-of-living adjustments are late to the party, as consumers are feeling the effect of price spikes now.
September 16, 2021
Retirees Likely to Receive Significant Bump in Social Security Benefits in 2022
social security

Retirees Likely to Receive Significant Bump in Social Security Benefits in 2022

The cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits for next year is expected to be the largest since 1982.
September 16, 2021
The Downside of Delaying RMDs
required minimum distributions (RMDs)

The Downside of Delaying RMDs

With the SECURE Act 2.0, Congress is contemplating raising the age for required minimum distributions. However, don't assume you would benefit from th…
September 16, 2021