Seniors have worked hard to accumulate their finances regardless of the amount. The following five steps help prevent elderly financial abuse.

Talk to a Financial Representative
Banks and credit unions are now taking steps to prevent their customers from becoming victims. Spending time discussing precautions with a financial advisor and identifying suspicious transactions on accounts helps prevent fraud. If the bank is not actively monitoring suspicious activity on accounts it may be time to find a new financial institution.

What avenues should a bank undertake to protect your money? Learn their policy on abnormal spending behaviors and how accounts are monitored. Ask if additional security measures are available for your accounts. You may be surprised how much additional assistance is available to protect your accounts.

Accounting Access
Reviewing financial statements for signs of misuse is time consuming and tedious, especially for Seniors. Review all accounts once a month with an accounting professional if necessary to discover abnormal withdrawals or unapproved purchases.

Keep Checks, Credit Cards and Cash Secure
Elderly are often vulnerable when others visit their home. Checks, cash, credit cards or account numbers may be within easy access for others to misuse.

One safety option is a small safe or cabinet with a lock. Keep cash, checks and credit cards secure unless being used. A burglar may be able to break into these safeguards but these measures keep items safe from sticky fingers. Remove temptation and prevent easy access.

Be Accountable
If someone runs errands for you ask for a receipt regardless of purchase type. A pre-paid credit card or gift card to frequented stores is a wise choice. Large expenditures are thereby limited. Computer savvy Seniors may circumvent financial pitfalls by shopping online on secure sites.

Prevent Identity Theft
Seniors who are scrupulous in monitoring and limiting access to financial accounts are still susceptible to becoming victims of elderly financial abuse when their identity is stolen. Identity theft is one of the most common ways people of all ages become victims of financial fraud. Credit accounts are able to be opened by hackers with only a few pieces of personal information. When your information is linked to another’s identity, funds are spent quickly.

Another frustrating aspect of identity theft is having no idea debt is being accumulated in your name for months, even years, after it begins. Prevention is key. Protect personal information especially social security numbers. Social Security numbers should only be used for tax returns, opening financial accounts and applying for government benefits. These numbers should never be given over the phone. Monitoring credit reports from all three credit bureaus is important. A free copy of all three reports is available once a year

Seniors deserve to live their golden years without fear of losing the wealth accumulated throughout their life. These tips are only a few ways to be protected from financial abuse. Enjoy retirement – don’t be a victim.