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  • Archive for October, 2010

    Stop, Look and Listen- Don’t Become a Victim of Elder Financial Abuse

    Friday, October 8th, 2010

    A 60 year old woman’s phone rings, so she picks it up and hears what she believes to be the voice of her grandson on the other end, informing her the he has been in a terrible accident in Mexico and needs to borrow some money to cover hospital costs. Frantic, the woman hangs up the phone and transfers the funds to the bank account where her grandson instructed.  However, it turns out the young man was not her grandson and her money did not go towards medical expenses after all.

    Unfortunately, “Grandmother” scams happen more often than one would imagine, they are a real risk and can result in the loss of thousands of dollars for elders.  According to the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA), the typical victim of elder financial abuse is a 70 to 89 year old white female who is frail and cognitively impaired. Financial abuse; however, affects a wide range of personality types, both genders, and people at all income levels.

    Here are some other smooth lines to look out for, and to educate your parents, spouse, and friends about:

    •    “We’ll give you a free lunch and teach you how to invest your money.”
    Don’t let a free lunch and some well-dressed, well-spoken sales persons pressure you. Don’t purchase financial products that you don’t understand or need.

    •    “I’m a ‘Senior Certified Financial Planner’ and I have some wonderful investment products for a person just your age.”
    Watch out for people using educational titles to convince you that they have been “certified” as experts in financial matters affecting seniors. In reality, there is no such designation.

    •   “You’ve just won $10,000. If you give me your bank account number, we can put in right in the bank for you.”
    Never give out any account numbers to anyone over the phone or to anyone you don’t know.

    •     “The IRS has made an error in your taxes and will refund the money if you fill in your Social Security number on the attached form.”
    This request may come in an official-looking envelope, but think about it; obviously the IRS already knows your Social Security number. Do not fall for this one.

    **If you’re in the DC area, Financial Services Roundtable will be hosting a symposium on “Protecting and Rebuilding Seniors’ Assets through Financial Education,” on October 14.  Cindy Hounsell, WISER’s President will be presenting, along with other helpful experts.

    The Financial Services Roundtable
    1001 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
    Suite 500 South
    Washington, DC 20004

    WHEN: October 14, 2010
    11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (Lunch will be provided)

    WHY: To discuss public and private sector efforts to increase financial literacy among senior citizens.

    Please RSVP to Aleksia Ilic at by October 12.

    Everyone, including seniors, can help stem the tide of elder financial abuse with increased awareness!


    About Us

    WISER is a nonprofit organization that works to help women, educators and policymakers understand the important issues surrounding women's retirement income. WISER creates a variety of consumer publications including fact sheets, booklets and a quarterly newsletter that explain in easy-to-understand language the complex issues surrounding Social Security, divorce, pay equity, pensions, savings and investments, banking, home-ownership, long-term care and disability insurance.

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