02 Dec

How to Prevent Elder Financial Abuse

Preventing Elder Financial Abuse

There is an alarming epidemic of elder financial abuse. This kind of abuse involves taking advantage of an older person for financial gain. Older adults are losing billions each year as a result of scams, fraud and exploitation.

It’s even more disturbing that nearly half of that money is lost because of tactics that are technically legal, but dishonest in nature. Experts predict the problem will only get worse with a large number of Baby Boomers going into retirement. Here’s what you can do about it.

How Seniors Can Protect Themselves

There are a number of ways for seniors to be better protected from elder financial abuse. Use these strategies to identify financial abuse and avoid it because not all financial abusers take money from their victims using the same methods.

  • Remain socially active
    Isolation is one factor that can lead to the financial vulnerability of a senior since being cut off from the outside world will make it harder for others to spot warning signs.
  • Avoid joint bank accounts
    Some seniors might open a joint bank account in order to make transactions or withdrawals on their behalf easier for a family member and better manage their finances. However, a shared bank account can also be an easy way for fraud and violence to take place.
  • Invoke a power of attorney
    Financial abuse risk increases after a person develops a reduced ability to make independent financial decisions. Invoking an attorney’s power can be a constructive way to prepare one’s property and resources for the future. Seniors may recommend seeking legal advice to assist in this process.

How to Identify Elder Financial Abuse

It can be difficult to identify elder financial abuse, particularly if you don’t know what you’re looking for. It is also challenging to identify signs of abuse if the abuser is someone you know and trust. Here are some signs and what you can do with financial elder abuse.

  • Money Missing from Accounts
    Is there a shortage of funds or large amounts of money missing from the savings or bank accounts? If so, it’s crucial for you to find out where the money went.
  • Unusual Use of Credit Cards
    If an elder unexpectedly uses their credit cards more often or if cash advances are being taken out, there may be financial abuse or financial hardship.
  • Unpaid Bills, Collection Letters, Lack of Food in House
    If a person who is financially responsible does not seem to pay bills or buy food or other necessities, it is time to investigate. Signs of abuse, disease, or dementia can be mismanaging money or neglecting self-care.

If you see any of the signs listed here, it is important to talk to old friends or loved ones. Try to determine what is happening, specifically with your financial situation, such as a new person “helping” you with money management, or a relative using cards or credit without your permission. Then, report elder financial abuse to your financial institution and enlist the help of your banker to stop it and keep it from repeating. Call the city or state’s Adult Protective Services for support. If you have any questions or concerns about elder financial abuse, call RMLEFCU at 303-458-6660.

07 Mar

How to Avoid Tax-Related Identity Theft

Tax season is upon us once again, and we’re here to give you a few friendly reminders and tips on how to protect your identity as best you can.

What is Tax-Related Identity Theft?

Tax-related identity theft is when someone uses your Social Security Number (SSN) to claim a tax return with the IRS. People usually discover this has happened when they attempt to file their own taxes and are notified that someone has already submitted a claim with their SSN.

How to Prevent It

It is much easier (and less of a headache) to take preventative measures to protect your identity rather than repair the damage after it has already been stolen. Here are some simple ways you can help prevent tax-related identity theft.

Protect Your Sensitive Information

The best way to prevent identity theft is to protect your sensitive financial information. This can be done by taking precautions such as not carrying your Social Security card on your person and taking care to shred all documents with sensitive information that a thief could potentially get a hold of.

Don’t Fall Victim to Scams

Around tax time there are plenty of scams that go around via phone call and email that will claim they are the IRS. They will typically request that you update your information or submit a payment without being sent a bill first. Beware of these scams, as they are not from the IRS, and, if you do receive one, report the incident directly to the IRS before doing anything.

Get an Identity Protection Service

Identity protection services are a great way to ensure that your personal information stays out of the wrong hands. They provide comprehensive identity protection and constantly monitor for fraudulent activity, alerting you if any suspicious activity occurs. RMLEFCU checking account holders are eligible to enroll in Kasasa Protect, our affordable identity protection and restoration solution, at any time. It begins working immediately to give you peace of mind and requires no commitment or contract.

By keeping these suggestions in mind and being aware of your sensitive personal information, you can greatly decrease the possibility of falling victim to tax-related identity theft during this tax season. If you have any questions or concerns about Kasasa Protect or your RMLEFCU accounts, please give us a call at 303-458-6660, or stop into one of our branches.