In recognition of Older Americans Month in May, Jersey State Bank is providing tips and advice to prevent financial exploitation of older adults.
“Seniors have been the target of financial abuse for years and it seems to be escalating,” said Jim Hoefert, president/CEO of Jersey State Bank. “Individuals over 50 years old control over 70 percent of the nation’s wealth. Fraudsters continue to find new tactics to exploit this vulnerable group of people.”
Bank employees are frequently trained to identify red flags commonly associated with financial abuse, from unusual recent withdrawals to a new person accompanying the older customer to the bank. However, elder financial abuse is best combated when bankers and customers work together. To help older Americans protect themselves, Jersey State Bank is offering the following tips:
• Keep personal information private. Never share your Social Security number, account information, or personal details over the phone or Internet, unless you initiated contact with a trusted source.
• Shred documents. Shred receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away so fraudsters can’t piece together your personal information.
• Don’t let a so-called “adviser” pressure you. Never let a new or untrusted “adviser” pressure you into sharing personal or financial details. He or she could be a fraudster.
• Check your credit report. Customers should check their credit report at least annually to ensure no new credit cards or accounts have been opened by criminals in your name. To receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.annualcreditreport.com, or call (877) 322-8228.
• Never rush into a financial decision. Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion from a trusted financial adviser or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.