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How to protect aging parents from elder financial abuse

Updated March 3, 2023, at 8:30 a.m. CT

Elder financial abuse has been called the fastest growing crime of the 21st century, according to the Credit Union National Association.

Victims of these scams have not only lost their money but also have experienced damage to their credit.

But there are steps adult children can take to help their aging parents avoid falling victim to financial exploitation.

How you can help

Plan ahead

To ensure your parents’ wishes continue to be followed, it’s important to encourage financial decisions to be made early on. Consult a financial planner like Dupaco Financial Services.

Consider the need for power of attorney on accounts, or have select family members added to accounts so family members can monitor for suspicious activity.

Monitor credit

Dupaco’s free Bright Track credit monitoring service can help watch for errors on your parents’ credit report. Dupaco also offers Family ID Restoration coverage for additional resources to help prevent and respond to fraud.

Review accounts

Help your parents monitor their accounts through Shine Online or Mobile Banking. Dupaco’s eNotifier Alerts can help alert you to suspicious activity and out-of-character transactions.

Protect private information

Warn family members against sharing personal information, such account, PIN and social security numbers. And secure items such as checkbooks, account statements and social security information.

Question the suspicious

Encourage family members to question anything regarding their finances. They should feel free to consult a trusted family member or contact their credit union if they have concerns.

Watch for red flags

Many times, there are signs of elder financial abuse. Here are some red flags you can watch for:

  • They’re confused about their accounts.
  • They are missing blank checks or credit cards.
  • They start using their debit or credit cards when they never did in the past.
  • They have unpaid bills or start receiving statements from new credit cards or utilities.
  • They have large unexplained withdrawals from accounts or need money for out-of-character purchases.
  • Their statements or regular mail are no longer being delivered, or they have unexplained address changes.
  • Unknown or unexpected names have been added to their accounts.
  • New “friends” accompany them to conduct transactions.
  • You suspect forgery on their documents.

Time is of the essence. The sooner exploitation is detected, the sooner it can be stopped.

If you suspect something’s wrong, contact Dupaco immediately at 800-373-7600.