Financial scams and other fraud-related crimes in Virginia are often directed at senior citizens. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, senior citizens are not as likely as other people to report financial scams, which may be one reason why they are likely to be victims. In fact, the FBI has reported that about a third of the victims of telemarketing-related scams are 60 years of age or older.
Readers may recall a previous post on this blog detailing this type of predatory activity. Because of the prevalence of elder fraud and the ever-increasing difficulty in preventing it, professional advisers have made many helpful suggestions regarding how to avoid such scams and protect the estate planning of an elderly loved one.
One of the best ways to prevent elder fraud, experts say, is to spot red flags indicative of a financial scam. Some red flags they identified include the promise of quick and easy money, the communication of a sense of urgency, the refusal to provide written materials related to a sale, the use of intimidation techniques or a request for credit card or other payment information despite a lack of any tangible product.
One of the best tools available to the elderly allows them to delegate financial-related decisions to another person. This option, known as a guardianship, grants the legal authority to another to make decisions related to a number of things, including finances. Tools such as this can be extremely valuable in preventing a devastating financial loss that could result from elder fraud.
Unfortunately, there is only a fine line that separates living in fear of being the victim of a financial scam and acting cautiously to protect one's assets. For that reason, older individuals who do not feel secure making financial-related decisions can delegate that responsibility to a person they trust to maintain a previously establish estate plan.
Source: The Hampton Roads Show, "Preventing elder fraud," May 30, 2012