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7 ways to protect your aging parents from financial abuse

How to protect my aging parent from financial abuse
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Tip: Check your parents' credit report annually for unexpected accounts and inquiries. Someone could be trying to obtain credit in their names.

7 steps to prevent financial abuse of elders

1. Talk about money
Consumer Reports suggests easing into a conversation with your aging parents about money2 by bringing up your own financial worries or seeking advice.
2. Offer to assist your parents with monthly bill paying

This way, you can monitor account activity and keep an eye out for suspicious transactions.

3. Meet your parents' friends

The American Bankers Association recommends asking about new people in your parents' lives. Find out specifics, such as whether the new person is "helping" them with money management or has access to their bank accounts.

4. Be present in your parents' lives

Visiting or talking with your parents regularly allows you to stay tuned in to their financial situation. They'll also be more likely to confide in you if they suspect that someone is taking advantage financially.

5. Notify your parents' bank

If you suspect elder financial abuse, report suspicions to your parents' bank and enlist the management's help to stop future transactions by that person.

6. Carefully vet caregivers

Always run a background check on your parents' caregivers to ensure that person doesn't have a history of theft or fraud. You can purchase a background check from your state police or a private company. Alternatively, you can order specific types of background checks through Care.com, a company that connects families with caregivers. You can also look up free public docket information for criminal and civil cases in many cities, counties, and states.

7. Check credit reports regularly

Review your parent's credit reports from the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Each consumer is allowed one free annual credit report from each agency, which you can order from one central website. You can also sign up with sites, such as Credit Karma or Credit Sesame, for free credit report access and monitoring.

Important Disclosure Information

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.