Broker Check

A Protection Plan for Senior Scams

| February 17, 2020

Every day 10,000 baby boomers turn 65.

Obviously, we all hope to age gracefully and retire happily in the process. But the reality is the boomer demographic is increasingly a target for financial scams and fraud, to the tune of almost $3 billion per year. Happy birthday indeed.

Sadly, we see it with our clients and their families. From our perspective, the malicious activity has definitely picked up over the years.

This exploitation has led to seniors being taken advantage of in numerous ways. It could be through unknown means, like an anonymous hacker, or through trusted sources such as family, attorneys, and financial advisors.

Too many seniors are unaware of ways people can steal their money. The methods run the gamut, from fake prepaid credit cards and phishing emails to romance scams and, yes, even Nigerian princes. New ways to steal are thought up every day by criminals. That’s why everyone, not just seniors, should always be on the lookout.

A newer scam we encountered involves seniors receiving communications about a lien on their property that can only be lifted via an immediate wire transfer of a hefty sum. Too often, seniors send the money because they’re scared of losing their homes.

Many such cases go unreported. That’s because seniors are ashamed, embarrassed, scared, or simply don’t know what to do in the situation.

Compounding these problems are the fact that many older Americans manage their finances themselves. That leaves them vulnerable to malicious attacks. Additionally, financial literacy can decline with age, which makes older folks a prime target.

How do you combat the scams?

In our experience, it’s best for seniors and their families to put up as many safeguards as possible. That means there are checks and balances on finances, including:

  • Having a trusted advocate involved (could be family)
  • Getting financial and health care powers of attorney in place
  • Establishing and documenting trusted contacts
  • Enlisting someone who can identify financial red flags quickly (often a financial advisor)

It’s important to know there is no single remedy. It takes a series of security measures to keep scammers at bay. Thus far, the best protection we’ve seen is a network of checks and balances designed specifically to keep finances and sensitive information safe.

Securities sold through CoreCap Investments, Inc., a registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/SIPC; advisory services offered by CoreCap Advisors, Inc., a registered investment advisor. Cornerstone Financial and CoreCap are separate and unaffiliated entities.