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  • Content Expert - Accounting

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    The number of Americans caring for both older parents and children at the same time is increasing every year, and they’re affectionately known as the Sandwich Generation. Whether your parents are very active or have slowed down, the responsibility of watching out for their financial wellbeing and protecting them can be quite stressful.

    Financial exploitation has become the most common form of elder abuse, and there are several reasons for that. It’s important to recognize potential scams and predators so you can protect your parents. One out of five older Americans is a victim of financial fraud. The emotional and physical damage to the health and wellbeing of victims and their families is insurmountable. Many older adults do not have knowledge of how to recover from this type of crime. Shining the spotlight on why and how they are targeted can help you recognize potential abuse.
    • Individuals over the age of 50 control more than 70 percent of the nation’s wealth.
    • Disabilities make many seniors dependent on others for help, exposing their financial privacy to predators.
    • Seniors commonly receive monthly checks, making it predictable for others to know when they have funds or when they go to the bank.
    • Being unfamiliar with financial matters or modern technology can also make them vulnerable.
    • Those who are isolated, lonely, grieving the loss of a partner, depressed, physically or mentally disabled, have family members who are unemployed or have substance abuse problems may also become victims of financial abuse.
    • As with other forms of abuse, the victim is usually acquainted with the abuser. However, unlike physical abuse and neglect, financial abuse is more likely to occur with the consent of the older person.
    • Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry.
    • Do not reply to messages or click links asking to verify personal or financial information.
    • Do not send money to someone you don’t know without verifying the legitimacy through a trusted advisor.
    • Give only to charities you are familiar with.
    • Obtain all offers in writing.
    • Review your monthly statements.
    • Get a free annual credit report.
    • Stay clear of things that sound “too good to be true.”
    • If you are unraveling the finances of parents who can no longer manage themselves, a daily money manager can help.

    Brenda Hellums, CSA, CDMM, is a Principal of Warren Averett and the Service Area Leader of Warren Averett Daily Money Management Services. Reach her at 334-387-3614 or brenda.hellums@warrenaverett.com.

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