Protecting At-Risk or Vulnerable Adults
As your parents, or other loved ones around you age, it's important to help them understand the potential dangers of fraud and financial abuse. Learn how you can educate and help protect them.
Identifying Fraud & Financial Abuse
As your loved ones age, you’re faced with new concerns – one of which is helping to educate and protect them against fraud. A financial abuser can come in the form of a stranger, a friend, a caregiver or even another family member who encourages or coerces your loved one into making transactions or taking out large sums of cash.
If you feel that your loved one or a senior you know is a victim of financial abuse or fraud, call M&T at 1-800-724-2440 (Monday–Friday 6am–9pm, Saturday–Sunday 9am–5pm ET) to get immediate help.
Common Senior Fraud Scams
Your loved one may be a target because of their age. Senior citizens sometimes have difficulty with technology, can become disoriented or confused, or mistakenly trust the wrong person out of a desire for companionship. Help protect your loved one by becoming familiar with the most common scams.
- Be wary of suspicious solicitation. Whether in person or over the phone, no one should ask your loved one to send them money unless they have chosen to buy something and have determined the organization is reputable and trustworthy
- Beware of checks from strangers. Fraud artists often ask innocent victims to deposit a check and then send a portion of the money back to them immediately via wire or by funding a prepaid card. In these cases, the check is often no good
- Avoid lottery scams. Your loved one may be notified that they’ve won a foreign lottery. To collect their winnings, they need to wire a certain amount of money to cover “taxes” and they’ll be paid once the funds are received
- Question inheritance notifications. Your loved one may receive a letter informing them that they’ve inherited a large sum of money, but in order to accept the balance, they must wire transfer funds to a specified individual
- Be skeptical of requests for romance or companionship. Fraudsters may pose as someone seeking friendship or romance and, after establishing trust, trick your loved one into providing money for an “expense”
- Avoid selling expensive items on the Internet. A scammer may send a counterfeit check that is more than the item’s sale price and ask that the seller, your loved one, wire transfer the excess amount back to the buyer
Other Useful Resources
Below, we’ve listed a few resources that provide more information about protecting elderly and vulnerable adults from fraud:
- FBI List of Common Senior Citizen Fraud Schemes
- Elder Fraud and Financial Exploitation Resources from StopFraud.gov
- Top Ten Scams Targeting Seniors from the National Council on Aging
Learn how to protect yourself.
Stay current on fraud protection best practices, take advantage of useful tools, and find helpful tips on our How to Protect Yourself page.