Financial exploitation is one of the most common forms of abuse committed against older Americans. According to a Metlife study, an estimated $2.9 billion is lost annually to scams explicitly targeting seniors. The American Bankers Association Foundation is urging older Americans and their caregivers to join the fight against financial abuse and take active steps to protect their finances from fraud.
“Older Americans currently hold more than two-thirds of all U.S. deposits, making them highly susceptible to scams, exploitation and abuse,” said Corey Carlisle, ABA Foundation executive director. “It’s critical that seniors and their loved ones recognize the signs of financial abuse before it’s too late and get help immediately if they think they’ve been victimized.”
To help older Americans and their caregivers protect themselves or their loved ones from financial abuse, the ABA Foundation is offering the following tips:
- Plan ahead to protect your assets and to ensure your wishes are followed. Talk to someone at your financial institution, an attorney, or financial advisor about the best options for you.
- Carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters. Select someone who has your best interest at heart.
- Never give personal information, including your Social Security, account number or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
- Stay alert to common fraud schemes. Never pay a fee or taxes to collect sweepstakes or lottery “winnings.”
- Never rush into a financial decision. Ask for details in writing and consult with a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.
- Check references and credentials before hiring anyone. Don’t allow workers to have access to information about your finances and make sure to lock up your checkbook, account statements and other sensitive information when others will be in your home.
- Pay with checks and credit cards instead of cash to keep a paper trail.
- You have the right not to be threatened or intimidated. If you believe you are a victim of elder financial abuse, contact your local Adult Protective Services, tell someone at your bank or call your local police for help.
Resource information provided by the American Banker’s Association
Looking to get away this summer without going too far? The city of Louisville has several attractions that can keep the whole family entertained. Here are 4 outdoor summer activities you don’t want to skip in Louisville:
- The Walking Bridge
This one is a no-brainer. The Walking Bridge is a great outdoor activity with the best views of downtown Louisville. Walk over to Jeffersonville and cool off inside various restaurants and shops.
Nulu (New Louisville) is an up-and-coming area in downtown Louisville in the East Market District. There is always something different happening, and summer weekends often involve local fairs, festivals, and flea markets.
- The Louisville Zoo
This Louisville classic is a wonderful place to enjoy a beautiful summer day. The Louisville Zoo is a great place for families to get up close and personal with various wild animals. Be sure to cool off at the Zoo’s recent addition of Splash Park.
- Falls of the Ohio
Discover the “largest, naturally exposed, Devonian fossil beds in the world” at the banks of the Ohio River. Located in Clarksville, Indiana, this quick trip involves hands-on learning that is sure to excite the family.
The next time you receive a frantic call from someone saying they are your grandchild and asking for money, make sure it’s actually your grandchild who’s calling.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2016, impersonation scams ranked second as the most common consumer complaint, with more than 400,000 reported. The “grandparent scam,” is a form of financial abuse that deliberately targets older Americans using impersonation tactics.
To commit this crime, fraudsters call claiming to be a family member in serious trouble and in need of money immediately. The scammer might say he’s stranded or has been mugged, and call in the middle of the night to add to the urgency and confusion. Once the money is wired, the victim later finds out that it wasn’t their grandchild they were helping, it was a criminal.
In recognition of May as Older Americans Month, Stock Yards Bank & Trust offers older Americans these tips to help them prevent impersonation fraud:
- Confirm the caller. Fraudsters are using social networking sites to gain the personal information of friends and relatives to carry out their crimes. Verify the caller by calling them back on a known number or consult a trusted family member before acting on any request.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Fraudsters want to execute their crimes quickly. The more questions you ask the more inclined they will be to ditch the scam if they suspect you’re on to them.
- Never give personal information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
- Never rush into a financial decision and trust your instincts. Don’t be fooled – if something doesn’t feel right, it may not be right. Feel free to say no and get more information before you send money to someone.
Resource Information Provided by the American Bankers Association
November is Military Family Month, and we are especially reminded of the many sacrifices service members and their families make to protect our nation. Stock Yards Bank & Trust has highlighted seven financial tips to help make the lives of military families a little easier.
- Contribute to a Thrift Savings Plan. Military members have access to the Federal Thrift Savings Program, which offers the lowest-cost retirement-savings plan available. Have automatic contributions withdrawn from your paycheck.
- Plan for deployment. Before deploying, have a conversation with your family about managing the household budget. Check with your bank to see if they have pre-printed forms you can use for bank accounts. Military personnel also receive additional funds while deployed. Decide on the best use for that extra cash, whether it be paying off debt or additional Thrift Savings Plan contributions.
- Meet with your banker before active duty. The Service member Civil Relief Act offers all military personnel entering active duty a variety of financial protections. The SCRA covers issues ranging from interest rate reductions to limits on debt accrual. Ask your banker about the key provisions of this law and how they can help you.
- Consider housing options. With mortgage rates at notably low levels, home ownership can seem like a no-brainer. However, service members should consider their options. Frequent relocations and deployments can make owning a home challenging and expensive. Renting may be a smart option for short-term assignments. Decide what’s best for your family and your finances.
- Consult a financial advisor. Schedule a visit at a Personal Financial Management Program (PFMP) office, located in your military and family support centers. They offer free one-on-one counseling, as well as other financial education resources.
- Budget for a single-income household. Frequent moves are an inevitable part of military life and can make it difficult for spouses to establish stable careers. As a precaution, make plans to operate on a single-income household budget. That way, should your spouse’s employment status change; your family will be prepared.
- Set up automatic bill pay. Whether you’re stationed state-side or overseas, automatic bill pay will give you and your family one less thing to worry about each month. It can be particularly helpful during deployments in regions where internet access is unreliable and mobile banking isn’t an option.
Resource information provided by the American Bankers Association