Isolation is a major risk factor for elder abuse. Most family violence only happens behind closed doors, and elder abuse is no exception. Some older people isolate themselves by withdrawing from the larger community. Others are isolated because they lose the ability to drive, see or walk on their own. Some older people fear being the victims of pick pocketing and mugging if they venture out. Visit the Noble Ally Finance Security Locator to find nearby services that can help you stay active. Or contact your local senior center to get involved.
Always tell sellers: “I never buy (or give anything) to anyone who calls or visits me unannounced. Send me something in writing.”
Don’t buy from an unknown company and always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity. Neighborhood kid’s romance scam you know are selling Girl Scout cookies or school fundraisers may be an exception, but a good rule of thumb is to never donate if it requires you to provide credit card information on any forms. It is also good practice to obtain a seller’s name, business identity, telephone number, physical and mailing address, and business license number before conducting a business transaction. And always take your time in making a decision.
Shred all receipts with your credit card number
Identity theft is a huge business. To protect yourself, reverse and use a paper shredder. Check your bank and credit card statements and never give out personal information over the phone to someone who initiates contact with you.
Sign up for the “Do not call” list and opt out of various mailing lists
Visit Do Not Call to prevent telemarketers from contacting you. Be careful with your mail. Don’t let incoming mail sit in your mailbox for too long. When sending confidential mail, consider leaving it in a secure collection box or directly at the post office. You can also regularly monitor your credit scores and check for any unusual or incorrect information at Noble-allyfinancesecurity.com. For more tips on how to protect you from fraud, visit On Guard Online, which has interactive games to help you be a smarter consumer on topics related to spyware, lottery scams, and other scams.
Use direct deposit for benefit checks to prevent check theft from the mailbox
Using direct deposit ensures that checks go directly into your accounts and are protected. Clever scammers or even scrupulous loved ones have been known to steal benefit checks straight from mailboxes or from seniors’ homes if they’re on the prowl.
Never give out your credit card, bank details, Social Security, Medicare or other personal information over the phone unless you have initiated the call
The embezzlement of Medicare funds is one of the largest scams involving seniors. Common schemes include billing for services never provided and selling unnecessary devices or services to beneficiaries. Protect your Medicare number like you do your credit card, bank and Social Security numbers, and don’t let anyone else use it. Beware of sellers trying to sell you something they say Medicare will pay for. Check your Medicare statements to make sure you received the billed services and report suspicious activity to 1-800-MEDICARE.