This month's Buffalo Chamber of Commerce luncheon was at the Clear Creek Cantina on Wednesday and featured Grace Gibbs and Kathy Keeler of First Interstate Bank of Buffalo, speaking on elderly financial abuse, ways to recognize it, correct it, and prevent it.
Gibbs explained that elderly financial abuse is a crime depriving the elderly of their identities. Women seem to be targeted more than men, usually those aged 80 to 89 years, that are semi-independent.
Red flags that families or friends should watch for include changes in how the elderly manage money, odd activities in their financial accounts, and a general “lack of awareness” by the elderly.
Precautions that can help the elderly avoid problems are the same things that can protect all of us from identity theft, such as never giving personal information over the phone or by e-mail; by always shredding bank statements, receipts, credit card applications; and all personal information.
Always review monthly statements, report lost or stolen cards, lock up checks, bank account statements and get an annual credit report.
Information to get free credit reports is posted below.
The sites are free to use and there is no ding to your credit rating if you are checking for yourself, they said.
And who is “marked” as a possible target for financial fraud? The elderly, the handicapped, the naive, the greedy, the weak, the trusting...in other words, anyone can be a target.
If you suspect financial abuse, talk to your local banker.
For free credit reports, call Annual Credit Report at 1-877-322-8338 or e-mail them at www.annualcreditreport.com.