By Tiffany Williams, Managing Executive, FineMark National Bank & Trust office at Shell Point Retirement Community
Falling victim to financial abuse can be a stressful and scary situation. As the senior population continues to grow in our country, financial elder abuse will continue to grow with it. Sadly, during hard economic times, the prevalence of financial exploitation increases. Fortunately, this type of crime is completely preventable.
The staff at FineMark National Bank & Trust has compiled a list of ways you can protect yourself from financial abuse:
- Never give your Social Security number, account numbers, or other personal financial information over the phone – unless you initiated the call.
- Don’t open emails from unknown sources.
- Beware of any notice claiming you have won a lottery.
- Shred receipts, bank statements, and unused credit card offers.
- Review your accounts regularly for unauthorized charges.
- Report lost or stolen checks immediately.
- Order copies of your credit report once a year – only use Equifax, Experian or Transunion to generate these reports.
- Lock up your checkbook, account statements, and other sensitive information.
- Do business with companies you know are reputable.
- If a stranger is sending you a payment, insist on a check for the exact amount. Never accept a check for more and wire the difference back.
- Never let someone pressure you into agreeing to loan terms before you’ve had a chance to review them in writing with a trusted advisor.
- Report any unusual account inquiries you receive – whether by phone or email – to your bank, who will take measures to protect your account.
- Carefully choose trustworthy people to act as your agent in all estate planning matters.
FineMark National Bank & Trust has an office on The Island at Shell Point Retirement Community. If you have questions about this article, contact us by phone at (239) 461-5999.