World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, this is an appropriate time to remind older persons and their trusted caregivers about safeguarding all personal information and staying alert to the common signs of financial abuse. There are many forms of elder financial exploitation and the exploiters can be family members, neighbors, financial advisors, personal home care providers, home repair contractors, scam artists, and others.
Apply the following tips to help prevent elder financial abuse:
• Plan ahead to protect your assets and to ensure your wishes are followed. Granting someone Power of Attorney gives them authority to act on your behalf, including having access to your finances. Talk to someone at your financial institution, an attorney, or financial advisor about the best options for you.
• Know who is in your home. Check references and credentials before you let individuals you hire into your home. Lock up your checkbook, credit cards, account statements, and other sensitive information when others will be in your home.
• Pay with checks and credit or debit cards instead of cash to keep a paper trail.
• Shred old bills and account statements to limit misuse of your information.
• Never give personal information, including Social Security Number, account number, or other financial information, to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call.
• Never rush into a significant financial decision. Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion.
• Consult with an attorney or other advisor before signing any document you don’t understand.
• Get to know your banker and build a relationship with the people who handle your finances. They can look out for any suspicious activity related to your account.
Most importantly, if you think someone is trying to or has taken control of your finances, call your local police or Office for Aging for help, or tell someone at your bank. You have the right not to be threatened or intimidated by others.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched on June 15, 2006, by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.
Tiffany L. Jacinto is ACNB Bank’s Community Banking Manager for the community banking offices located in Gettysburg, PA, at 545 West Middle Street and 100 V-Twin Drive.