Children can help their vulnerable parents stay safe from scammers by just following this simple and effective 4-step program.
Children: Your Elderly Parents Need Help
You can be a great help in protecting your aged parents against vicious scammers. Protect their money and assets that took them a lifetime to assemble.
First of all, you will need your parents’ consent in writing — to act as the Power of Attorney on their behalf. Otherwise, the privacy laws will stymie your ability to help.
Recently, identity-protection stamps have become popular. This is an ink, manufactured by several companies that is specially formulated with an oil-based ink. The ink is placed onto a stamp consisting of small letter patterns packed tightly together. You just stamp over any sensitive information on the document you want to protect. The ink will not wash away with water.
Even better, says the experts, is to use a cross-cut shredding machine to shred any documents, such as credit card or Medicare statements that your parents no longer need. Under no circumstances, should you throw such documents into the garbage. That’s because, thieves constantly rummage through garbage cans looking for this kind of data.
Children: More Scam Prevention Measures
Here are several more scam prevention measures you can implement to protect your parents:
- Review their credit reports with them. Be certain that someone else hasn’t opened an account in your parents’ names.
- Help them put a credit freeze in place to ensure new credit can’t be opened in their names.
- They should not to carry their social security cards with them. Furthermore, they should provide their social security number only when absolutely necessary.
Telephones are another way scammers target the elderly — knowing that they are trusting people and easily convinced. Here are several safety measures you should immediately implement .
- Install a voicemail system on their telephone, and ask them to let any call go there if it’s from a number that they don’t know.
- Ask questions like, “what would you do if someone called and said your grandchild is in trouble?” running through scenarios will help keep them from getting caught off guard.
- Get a call-blocking app to screen out spam calls on their smartphones.
Next, set it up so that you are the listed go-to person and spokesperson for your parents.
- Be sure you are listed as a trusted contact on their investment accounts.
- Check the credentials of your parents’ financial adviser at brokercheck.finra.org.
Finally, tech appliances such as computers and wifi systems is the first target of scammers. Here’s what you need to do:
- Make sure that computers are running the latest version of windows and that other updates have been completed. Program their computer so that new updates are updated automatically.
- Their computer must has a virus protection program from a reputable company such as Norton or McAfee.
- Ensure that their wi-fi network at home is password protected.
- Help them manage their passwords. explore options that work for them but also protect critical accounts.
Lastly, check and review all of these safety measures at least once a week to ensure that everything is working properly.