Elder Fraud Tips
People of all ages are becoming more and more vulnerable to identity theft and other forms of fraud. The victims of fraud do not fit a particular profile, but statistics show that oftentimes seniors are targeted. The reasons why this age group is targeted are less clear.
Here are five steps a person can take to reduce instances of fraud.
- Identifying Fraud
- Reporting Fraud
- Preventing Fraud
Strangers may be trying to take advantage of your good nature. Be aware that people are not always truthful. Be assertive and ask questions to clarify who exactly you are speaking with, or simply end the conversation by politely hanging up or walking away.
Anyone can be a victim of fraud. Most victims of fraud are well-educated and socially active. There is no shame in seeking advice from someone you trust, or double checking facts. In turn, provide advice to someone who may benefit from it. When searching for advice consider the following person(s):
- Pamphlets, News Media, Newspaper
Fraud takes on various forms. Among the most frequently encountered are:
- Telemarketing Fraud
- Home Repair and Improvement Fraud
- Identity Theft
- Financial Exploitation
- Medical-Related Fraud
- Insurance Fraud
- Charity Fraud or "Dues" for Social Clubs
- Nursing Home Fraud
- Automobile Purchase and Repair Fraud
- Funeral Fraud
- Warning Signs
- You apply for a credit card and are denied
- Purse/Wallet is stolen
- Bank account overdrawn/unusual credit card activity
- Mail you did expect arrives
You can report fraud to:
- District Attorney's Office (Economic Crime Unit)
- To close family and friends
- Better Business Bureau
- Credit Reporting Agencies
- Equifax 800-685-1111
- Experian 800-682-7654
- Your Attorney
- Your Insurance Company
- Local Group
- The Dale Association - 716-433-4440
- Amherst Senior Center - 716-636-3050
- Adult Protective Services
- Lockport - 716-439-7809
- Niagara Falls - 716-278-8683
Brainstorm for ideas among your family, friends, and community. Share experiences you have had and what you have learned from them.
Here's a few suggestions:
- Use a "fanny pack" or close-fitting pouch, instead of a purse; do not carry your checkbook in public.
- Carry your wallet in a front pocket any time you are out in public.
- Do not carry your Social Security card with you; NEVER give out your Social Security number.
- Remove your Social Security number from your Driver's license and checks.
- Deposit all outgoing mail inside your post office rather than placing it in your mailbox for carrier pick-up or sign up for automated payment plans.
- Ask bank or credit union to personally pick up new checks rather than having them delivered to your home.
- Notify appropriate agencies/institutions of death of relative or friend.
- Do not keep your automobile registration, insurance, checkbook, or other identifying information in your car: do not leave your car unlocked.
- Use a confetti-cross-cut shredder on all financial mail and documents.
- Never assume something is official just because it appears to be.
- Have a response prepared for charities and telemarketers before they call.
- "I do not do business over the phone - please put me on your Do Not Call List."