Protecting our Elders from Financial Scams

Everyone is vulnerable to financial scams, but seniors and retirees are especially targeted. The sad truth is that as we grow older and build our financial portfolios through income, steady savings, and investments, we become a target for fraudsters.

Almost one of five Americans over the age of 65 – nearly seven million seniors – have been taken advantage of financially.[1] We must educate ourselves on new scams and understand the risks and resources available to us in order stop this growing trend.

We must ensure that seniors and retirees have the right resources to protect themselves. Fraud can take a number of forms including investment scams and forged checks to something as simple as stolen jewelry.

Sadly, most culprits of financial abuse aren’t strangers. Criminals are generally someone the victims know and trust, such as family, friends or caregivers.[2] To help individuals and families protect older family members, resources like Bank of America’s Better Money Habits can help you identify behaviors that make you vulnerable to criminals. You can also learn about the signs to be aware of when loved ones may need additional help with their financial responsibilities. To fully control your assets, you need to recognize your financial needs/limitations.

As one of the nation’s top states for protections against elder-abuse[3], our community leaders are doing a great job partnering with local organizations to educate the public. Here in the Triangle, we’re proud that our organizations, Bank of America and Triangle Family Services, along with other local sponsors, have teamed up to present the Senior Scam Jam on May 18th.

The event is a free, public workshop that includes experts from across the state to help educate seniors about current scams and how to protect themselves against investment fraud. Through this event, we have the opportunity to inform seniors across North Carolina of the necessary precautions to protect their financial assets and to continue to live financially secure lives.

Each of us can play a role in preventing investment fraud, and together we can help chart a path for financial success and create a thriving Triangle community. Let’s start the conversation today.

Kari Stoltz is the Triangle Market President for Bank of America

Alice Lutz, CFRE is the CEO of Triangle Family Services


[1] Survey conducted by Public Policy Polling  for the Investor Protection Trust
[2] National Center on Elder Abuse
[3] Wallethub 2016 ranked number 16