As more of our lives move online, those who engage in scams and fraud against the elderly have many more ways to take advantage of their victims. Since many elderly people don’t use phones or computers to monitor or access their accounts, they’re often oblivious to how much money they’re losing until it’s too late.
Fortunately, there are a number of tools that family members can use to help protect elderly loved ones or others that could be easily exploited without having to take control of their financial independence.
There’s an app for that
Just as you can put an app on a loved one’s phone to track them in case they wander off, there are apps you can use that will monitor their accounts for suspicious activity and send alerts to you when something suspicious occurs.
Careful and Eversafe are two companies with apps that can monitor and alert people to activity including:
- Suspicious transfers
- Duplicate transactions
- Large transactions
- New merchants and charitable contributions
- Changes in spending habits
- Missed benefit payments
They can also send alerts when payments seem to be late. This can help people who have loved ones who tend to leave their mail unopened and ignore their bills.
You can set these apps up to send you notifications via text or email when any one of a number of potentially suspicious things occurs on multiple accounts.
For a relatively small price, you can set up important “financial guardrails” for your loved ones (They’re not a bad idea for busy people of all ages). If you want to extend the circle of people who receive notifications to people like a caregiver, you can do that without actually giving them access to your loved ones’ accounts.
If you believe that a loved one has been the victim of financial abuse or fraud, take action as soon as possible. You can call California’s Adult Protective Services as well as the local police. It may also be wise to seek legal advice.