Protect yourself from financial exploitation
Seniors face a number of important legal and financial questions. Discuss your options with a lawyer, financial planner, and your family. Keep them updated on your wishes and decisions.
Be proactive about your financial security
Do your due diligence before making investment decisions or sharing any personal or financial information.
Be cautious about door-to-door salespeople, telemarketers or unsolicited mail or email. A solicitor pressuring you or refusing to provide additional information about the company or offer is a red flag. Seek out reputable companies and products.
Discuss financial safeguards with trusted family members. Someone should know how to locate important personal and financial documents.
Be wary of scams
Common scams and ways to protect yourself:
- Phishing scams seek out your personal or financial information. Don’t share that information with solicitors.
- Reverse mortgage scams steal the equity in your home. Legitimate loan products will be insured by the Federal Housing Authority.
- Free prizes or foreign lottery winnings that require you to send money in advance or provide financial information are scams. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Medicare or health care fraud may involve calls seeking personal information or bills for unknown services.
Tips to stay safe
- Do not respond to unsolicited advertisements. Carefully research any offers, investments or products.
- Legitimate businesses do not solicit personal or financial information. Ignore mail, email, text or pop-up messages that ask for sensitive information.
- If you’re concerned about your account, call the phone number on your financial statement or credit card.
- Get Caller ID and do not answer calls from unfamiliar numbers.
- Don’t sign anything you do not understand.
Find a good lawyer to help you think through legal issues.
Draft a will or living trust to dictate how your property and other assets will be distributed. Consult an expert you know and trust before making these decisions.
Establish advance directives or a living will to document your health care wishes.
Be careful when granting power of attorney. Power of attorney can be an important tool to help manage your affairs, but can be destructive in the wrong hands. Do not grant power of attorney unless it is necessary. If possible, only entrust someone you know well, who your friends and family believe has your best interests in mind, and understands the fiduciary responsibility of a power of attorney.
If you think you are a victim
Contact your local police department.
You can also call these numbers with questions:
- Minnesota Board on Aging's Senior LinkAge Line: 1-800-333-2433
- Hennepin County Attorney’s Office citizen information help line: 612-348-5550