The pandemic has led to a variety of changes in our lives, such as the increase in scammers and identity theft as mentioned in our last post. Similarly, the loneliness and other feelings of dependence seniors might feel during the pandemic may also lead to vulnerability to financial scams. Scammers know how to approach potential targets during ‘times of seclusion… such as during a health crisis or after the death of a loved one,’ according to the Oregon DCBS (Department of Consumer and Business Services).
Although senior financial exploitation may be difficult to notice or be certain of, the Oregon DCBS outlines a few common examples of situations that may indicate financial exploitation is occurring. These include things like: a sudden new individual in the senior’s life that the senior is thinking of ceding financial control to, a ‘reluctance to discuss financial matters,’ sudden changes in their will or spending, and unexplained loans or loss of assets.
But what can be done to prevent this exploitation? It may seem difficult to act once the exploitation is already occurring, but there are resources to help. In Idaho, we have Area Agencies that advocate for and help aging individuals. Go to Area Agencies on Aging to find the agency nearest to you. There is also more information about what you can do to protect seniors in the ‘resources’ tab at Adult Protective Services. According to the Oregon DCBS, though, prevention occurs when we stay in contact with the elders in our lives by calling or even leaving notes, as well as when we help them understand that scammers may use the pandemic as an opportunity for exploitation. Sharing tips outlined by the agencies linked above directly with seniors can also be a good starting point.
Have any questions? Feel free to call Elise at (208)918-0201 or email her at email@example.com.
(Source: Oregon DCBS newsletter and Idaho Commission on Aging)