Recognize. React. Report. Don't fall victim to financial exploitation

May 22, 2020

Know the signs of financial fraud and learn how to protect yourself.

 

Criminals use financial exploitation and fraud to deplete the assets of their targets. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to be vigilant of suspicious requests and monitor your financials. In the event you are targeted, you can work with the authorities and other entities to report your case.

 

Recognize: What to watch out for

Be suspicious if:

  • A communication states that you’ve won money, a prize or a free gift — especially if you’ve never entered a raffle or drawing
  • You must pay for processing, shipping and/or taxes on your “free gift”
  • You must wire or send money to assist someone in need or receive “winnings”
  • You feel pressured to act because you’ve been “selected” to receive a special offer
  • A communication requires you to respond with your full credit card or bank account number
  • You feel uncomfortable with a caregiver’s access to your accounts
  • Remember — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

 

React: How to protect yourself

Be proactive: 

  • Set up account alerts
  • Organize and store important documents in a safe but easily accessible location
  • Carefully consider who has access to your accounts
  • Understand the risks of granting access to your accounts (joint ownership, sharing login credentials and sharing credit/debit cards can make it easier to be victimized)
  • Learn about common financial exploitation schemes and ploys
  • Review options with your financial institutions to help protect your accounts
  • Discuss financial accounts only with trusted friends, family members or financial advisors

 

Avoid financial exploitation:

  • Appoint a power of attorney to someone you do not trust to act in your interest 
  • Share your personal information (such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, birth date and Social Security number) with people or companies you don’t know
  • Send money to people or companies you’re not familiar with
  • Allow strangers to come into your residence
  • Respond to, or pay up front for, an offer that you do not thoroughly understand
  • Sign blank forms or checks
  • Share your logins and passwords

 

Report: Who to contact

  • The police: Request a copy of the police report and case number.
  • U.S. Bank Fraud Liaison Center at 877-595-6256 (for U.S. Bank accounts).
  • Any of the three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion, to place a “fraud alert” on your credit file.
  • Your bank and/or credit card company.
  • Adult Protective Services (county or state).
  • The Federal Trade Commission's identity theft website or by calling 877-ID-THEFT (877-438-4338).
  • You can also find contact information at eldercare.gov or by calling 800-677-1116.

 

Learn more about how to protect yourself against financial fraud.

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