Conversations that can prevent elder fraud

Too often, older adults become targets of financial fraud: sweepstakes and lottery fraud, phishing fraud and phone charitable solicitations. The elderly are approached by phone, email and/or regular mail and can succumb to pressure or blackmail.

Talking to aging parents and grandparents about fraud is important. How do you do it without making your elderly loved one feel like you question their judgment? Here are a few suggestions to help you get the conversation started:

Talk with them – not at them

Talking with someone generally means that you are both equally engaged in conversation. Talking at someone implies that you are talking down to them and you occupy the higher ground in the conversation. Be careful to share time together and make this one of many rich conversations you have on a regular basis together.

Share recent news stories

You can educate by using other people’s stories. When you see or hear of a financial scam, share the story with your loved one, “Did you hear about the recent attempts scammers are using to target elderly people?”


Remember, listening goes a long way. Does your loved one have a sudden and urgent need for cash? Are they asking questions about reverse mortgages? Has someone given them a too good to be true offer? If these things come up in conversation, pay attention and investigate.

The most important thing is to communicate that you care and your intent is to protect them. Express love and a genuine sense of concern and this conversation will go a very long way toward keeping the gold in their golden years.

If you suspect elder fraud, report it immediately to the police. If you have questions regarding elder fraud, contact our Member Service Center at (800) 877-8328.

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