Safe Banking for Seniors

Seniors make up a large portion of the banking market, with those born before 1965 holding 65% of bank deposits in the U.S. Many of those individuals have their lifetime worth of employment and savings in banks. Unfortunately, this makes them a target for criminals looking to steal their financial assets. Billions of dollars are lost from Seniors due to phishing, scams and fraud.

Banks work to prevent elder financial exploitation and act when it is suspected a customer is being frauded. Financial loss is not the only impact of being a victim of fraud; studies show that older individuals also suffer from shame, depression and anxiety. As many as 17% of Americans 65 or older have been a victim of financial exploitation, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Here are some tips to help your loved ones not fall victim to banking scams:

• Don’t give any confidential or identifying information to anyone who calls, texts, emails or messages you on social media. Keep your Social Security, bank account and credit card numbers to yourself.

• Never make a payment to someone you don’t know, especially by gift card, mobile payment apps, money transfers, or cryptocurrency. Only scammers will demand you pay that way. They know these payments are difficult to reverse.

• When in doubt, check it out. If you’re concerned about the request, contact the agency directly. Look up the government agency’s real number on their official site to get confirmation.

• Report any scam to the FTC and ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Report it to your bank, and be sure to share these tips with your friends and family.

Some common scams:

• Someone pretending to be a family member, telling you that they are sick, have been arrested or are in serious trouble and need money right away. Call a family to check in on the person the scammer was calling about.

• A court official won’t call you indicating you failed to appear for jury duty and you need to pay a fine or you will be arrested.

• The police will never call you to threaten your arrest, fine or deportation if you don’t pay taxes or some other debt right away.

• Social Security offices will not call you for any confidential information

• The IRS never calls, texts, or emails you about owing back taxes or if there is a problem with your return.

• Remember to never click on links in an unexpected email or text message that asks you for money or personal information. Don’t give any personal information like your username, PIN or passwords. Confirm that you personally know the person you are sending money to. Before you click send, double-check their information. Help your family protect their accounts by setting up multi-factor authentication and alerts for suspicious activity.

• Ensure that you have a financial caregiver in place. This should be someone you trust to make financial decisions if you are unable to facilitate financial transactions, as well as being an efficient communicator, detailed-orientated and they are in good health and can support you.

Contact our bank associates or visit one of our many locations and let us help you with all of your banking needs.