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8 Ways to Avoid Financial Frauds That Target Seniors

8 Ways to Avoid Financial Frauds That Target Seniors

Each year, millions of seniors fall victim to financial fraud or other scams. These tips are useful for seniors themselves as well as their family members to help protect them. These types of crimes are top priority for those that are in the business of fraud, not even stopping when the victim might happen to be a family member. All too often these crimes go unreported, but using these tips, you can help prevent them in the first place.

1. The Risks Don’t Come from Only Strangers

It has been reported that over 90 percent of abuse to the elderly is done by the older person’s own family. There are many tactics for this include draining joint bank accounts, promising care in exchange for money or property but never delivering on it, and plain theft. If you are or know of a loved one that is being abused financially

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2. Give All Solicitors the Same Answer

Never buy from an unfamiliar company, and always wait to donate to a charity until you’ve read their written material. Of course there will always be children in the neighborhood fund-raising for their school, so they are an exception. Generally, it is wise to never donate to somewhere that requires you to write down your credit card information. Get any sales person’s name, company, phone number, address, and business license number before making a transaction.

3. Stay Involved Locally

Sometimes, older people will isolate themselves by withdrawing from their community while others become isolated as they lose the ability to see, hear, walk, and the like. These seniors can become victimized through muggings and purse snatchings when they choose to venture out alone. There are usually community centers and even family members that will help the elderly stay active in communities aimed at seniors.

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4. Never Give Personal Information Out Over the Phone

One of the large scams involving seniors is the misuse of Medicare money. Some schemes that involve this are billing for services that were never delivered and selling unnecessary services or devices to Medicare beneficiaries. Protect all Medicare information the same as bank information. Also, ensure that Medicare statements are being checked monthly to account for any services. Some seniors experience false debt collections attempts over the phone, and these bank collection complaints should be taken to the authorities.

5. Sign Up for the “Do Not Call List” and Remove Yourself from Mailing Lists

Visit the government’s Do Not Call List signup in order to stop telemarketers from contacting you. Check your mail regularly, and don’t let anything sit in the mailbox too long. When you are sending out particularly sensitive mail, see if you can drop it off at a secure collection box or at the post office.

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6. Shred Receipts

To protect yourself from identity theft, invest in using a paper shredder. Regularly check on your bank statements and don’t ever give out personal information over the phone to someone that calls you from a “business”. If anyone get a hold of your personal banking or financial information, to ensure that you will not encounter identity theft.

7. Choose Direct Deposit Over Checks

When you use direct deposit rather than a check, scammers won’t have the chance to steal benefits checks from the mailbox. A direct deposit will ensure that the money goes straight into the bank account. While the government does use targeted surveillance for certain things, they are not able to monitor all seniors’ bank accounts to ensure that there is no suspicious activity.

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8. Stay Skeptical

Try not to rush into making a purchase, and take the time to call around prior to making a decision. Proceed as an informed consumer. It would also be a good idea to have a friend accompany you to anywhere that you may encounter a difficult decision. It is vital to read all contracts or purchasing agreements before signing anything. Try not to feel pressure when making a purchase, these decisions are only yours.

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Sasha Brown

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Published on November 11, 2020

10 Best Ways to Save Money Faster and Smarter

10 Best Ways to Save Money Faster and Smarter

People love to talk about budgeting, reducing spending. and investing. But unfortunately, talk is cheap, and poor money management is expensive. It’s easy to talk about the best way to save money, but putting it into practice is a different thing.

What people need to talk about is the practical and efficient ways you can quickly save money to accomplish your goals. After all, they don’t teach this stuff in school.

Here are the 10 best ways to save money faster and smarter.

1. Cancel All Your Subscriptions

Yes, all of them.

Okay, you can keep your wifi and trash. But other than that, cancel all your monthly subscriptions for one month. You will survive, I promise. Better yet, you will realize you won’t miss all of them.

Now that you have had 30 days to examine what you really missed and what you never thought twice about, you can add some of them back in. The others? you never have to think about them again.

This is something you can and should do with every part of your life. If it’s clutter, cancel it. Being able to step back and see what is cluttering your life and what is excelling your forward helps improve your quality of life and financial standing.

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2. Automate Savings From Your Paycheck

Many of us are so excited about getting a new job that we rush through the paperwork during the hiring process. Good news for you, I have had lots of jobs so I have seen it a million times.

There is an option for a portion of your paycheck to go directly into a secondary savings account. This is by far the most effective way to save money every month. We tend to spend most of what we have. So, if we take it off the top first, then it’s less likely to be spent. Just head over to HR and ask. It will only take two minutes.

3. Cancel the Happy Hours for the Rest of the Pandemic

We are in the middle of a global pandemic, which means that there is no better time to buy some drinks from the local store and stop shelling out $5 a drink at the local cocktail bar. When we look back at our bank statements, we are always shocked that fast food and alcohol can add up so quickly. You can easily save a couple of hundred dollars just by taking this step.

A great exercise is to print out your last bank statement and highlight all the areas of alcohol and fast food. The amount may surprise you and make you think twice about that old fashion.

4. Online Grocery Shopping

Some people think online shopping increases the amount they spend. For the most part, I would agree—except for this category.

Online grocery shopping is now a no-brainer, though. Whenever you walk through a grocery store, two things always happen: you always grab impulse items, and you never know the total of your cart until you checkout. This means that we always spend more than we originally planned.

With online shopping, you can see your total as you add items to your cart. You are way less inclined to make those impulse purchases and because of that, I would venture to say that you could even pay to have them delivered to your door and still save money each month by choosing online grocery shopping.

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5. Get a Famzoo Debit Card

This is something my wife and I swear by, and it’s great for the entire family! Famzoo strictly exists to help families and kids budget their money better. Each month, my wife and I have an allotted amount loaded onto our pre-paid Famzoo debit card. This amount has changed every year depending on promotions, kids, stage of life, etc.

The important part is that when you give yourself the freedom to spend a certain amount, you are more likely to only spend the allotted amount. Think of it as a diet. If you are counting calories, you are more likely to stick close to the amount you set. You can also look for some tips online to better stick to your family budget.

6. Purge

This is actually my favorite to do, and it is actually one of the best ways to save money. Raise your hand if you have ever moved. Okay, so everyone.

When we move, we are always amazed at how much junk we have acquired. I have found that about every 6 months, I can find a couple of boxes to sell online of things that we never use. This not only gives you so extra quick cash, but it also keeps your house more tidy and organized.

Now, go clean out that garage!

7. Amazon Subscribe and Save

32! That is how many items I have setup on amazon subscribe and save. Let me explain.

This sounds expensive, I know. But it actually saves us hundreds of dollars per year! We all need toothpaste, shampoo, razors, laundry detergent, toilet paper right? This feature is truly a triple threat. When you have more than 5 items on subscribe and save, you automatically unlock the max savings for every product on your list. This can be up to 20% per item!

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Now, even better is that it ships straight to your door on the exact day you want the item, maybe monthly or maybe you only need it every 4 months. This way, you never have too much or never run out. Either way, it’s totally customizable.

Lastly, there is no contract for any items, which means you can switch brands or items at any given time at no cost. My advice: every single staple item should be on your subscribe and save.

8. Rewards

This may ruffle some feathers, but if you are using your debit card for purchases, you are missing out on free money! We have this notion that credit cards are evil but in reality, they are the same piece of plastic as your debit card.

How you use it can be bad, don’t get me wrong. But if you want my opinion though, ditch the debit card and get a rewards credit card. Use it just like you would your debit card and make sure to pay it off as soon as the statement comes in!

Just to give you an idea of how powerful this can be in terms of money, here are some things that our miles have paid for:

  • 4 nights in Vail with Flight
  • Rental car in Vail (convertible might I add)
  • Flight to Ireland
  • Flight to Hawaii
  • Multiple staycations at very nice Hotels

That’s roughly about 7 thousand dollars in travel expenses so far! Remember that the credit card is just a tool and can be one that benefits you if you use it wisely. Ironically, this can be an effective way to save money.

Pro tip: If you don’t trust yourself carrying around a credit card, then set up all your monthly bills with your credit and leave it in a drawer at home. This way, you rack up miles but don’t get tempted to overspend.

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9. Vacation With Friends

Now, I know travel is hard right now but what a perfect time to go grab an Airbnb in the woods with a couple of friends and detox from the world right now!

Vacationing alone can be pricey and get rather boring quickly, but if you split lodging and set out for a road trip, it can become affordable quickly! For a couple of hundred bucks apiece, you can have one of the most relaxing vacations ever. Don’t forget to pick up your food at the local grocery store to avoid eating out every meal!

10. Make a Budget

When is the last time you updated your budget or made one for that matter? Making a budget is like writing down your goals. If you don’t make a budget, then you will struggle to save.

How can you know if you are spending wisely if you are not tracking everything?

Our advice would be to get a finance app like Mint, Every dollar, or personal capital. All these apps are free and do a tremendous job of tracking spending and budgeting. I still am old-school and have an excel spreadsheet which I do highly recommend.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

The entire goal is to boost your bank account while reducing the effort required. Efficiency is the name of the game, and automation is the key player. Luckily, we live in a world that has more perks than we can ever take advantage of. But if I were to choose a few, it would be the ones above.

Taking on all 10 of these steps may seem a little daunting. You can first try to pick three of your favorite and start there. Saving money doesn’t have to be a chore as long. As we use the tools correctly, it can be quite effortless. And now, you have a great blueprint to get started!

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Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via unsplash.com

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