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.

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Sandra Block
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Block joined Kiplinger in June 2012 from USA Today, where she was a reporter and personal finance columnist for more than 15 years. Prior to that, she worked for the Akron Beacon-Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. In 1993, she was a Knight-Bagehot fellow in economics and business journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has a BA in communications from Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va.