Ways To Address Potential Financial Threats From Others

Ways To Address Potential Financial Threats From Others

Solutions that reduce potential financial threats posed by others include:

  • Discussing concerns with the older adult
  • Sharing concerns with others
  • Reducing unwanted mail, email and calls
  • Revisiting decisions made under pressure


Discussing Concerns With the Older Adult


If anyone seems to be pressuring, pestering or trying to take financial advantage of the older adult, tell the older adult what you've noticed. Be specific and honest about what bothers you and why. Ask how the older adult feels about the person.


Tell the older adult that theft, scams or other financial exploitation can happen to anyone and can be committed by professional scammers, paid help, or even friends or family.

Understand that older adults might hear these concerns as questioning their judgment or abilities. Stress that the older adult hasn't done anything wrong.


Encourage the older adult to tell you or another trusted person about any concerns, questions or troubling interactions.


Even if the older adult doesn't share your concerns, ask about increasing financial security by:

  • Keeping sensitive financial and legal information in a locked cabinet or encrypted computer files
  • Creating or updating legal documents such as wills, trusts and powers of attorney
  • Making sure account contacts and beneficiaries are correct
  • Limiting others' access to the older adult's accounts
  • Asking the older adult's financial institution to send alerts about unusual account activity and about other account safeguards
  • Getting the older adult's credit report at least once a year from AnnualCreditReport.Com
  • Paying for goods and services with checks and credit and debit cards and asking for receipts
  • Checking credentials and references before hiring any paid help
  • Being skeptical of high-pressure or "too good to be true" offers
  • Taking time to make financial decisions and comparison shopping


Sharing Concerns With Others


Ask others close to the older adult if they have concerns about people trying to take financial advantage of the older adult. Ask what they know about any people or situations that concern you.


If you feel comfortable doing so, talk to the people whose interactions with the older adult trouble you. Ask them to explain what's going on. Make clear that you and others are involved in the older adult's life and will continue to monitor the situation.


Report any evidence of financial exploitation. Contact local law enforcement, county adult protective services or the state's elder abuse hotline. You don't need proof of financial exploitation. The authorities will investigate.


Reducing Unwanted Mail, Email and Calls


Ask if the older adult would like to reduce unwanted offers by phone, mail or email.

Reduce telemarketing calls by adding the older adult's phone numbers to the U.S. "do not call list" online at DoNotCall.Gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222. Look to see if the older adult's state has its own "do not call" list.


Reduce commercial mail and email offers by registering online at DMAchoice.Org, a direct mail association site.


Check the older adult's email program settings to see if the spam filter can be adjusted to reduce unwanted emails. Ask if the older adult would like to add an "ad blocker" to their Internet browser.


Reduce credit and insurance offers by registering with credit reporting agencies online at OptOutPrescreen.Com or by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT.


Encourage the older adult not to share personal or financial information with any companies that the older adult didn't contact first.


Revisiting Decisions Made Under Pressure


Ask if the older adult felt pressured to make or is having second thoughts about any financial or legal decisions. If so, ask what the older adult wants to do.


Offer to contact legal or financial professionals, to ask for advice or to change official documents.


Ask the older adult what made them feel pressured. Was it a particular situation, salesperson or someone close to the older adult? Discuss how the older adult could avoid or deal with pressure in the future.


Report any evidence of financial exploitation. Contact local law enforcement, county adult protective services or the state's elder abuse hotline. You don't need proof of financial exploitation. The authorities will investigate.