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Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking

Protecting Seniors From Financial Exploitation

How to Protect Yourself from Financial Exploitation

Are you a senior citizen concerned about being financially exploited? Financial exploitation is a growing problem that can affect anyone, but seniors are particularly vulnerable. Scammers and fraudsters target seniors who may feel isolated, lonely, or in need of financial assistance. To protect yourself and your assets, here are some important tips:

  1. Be Cautious of Unsolicited Calls or Emails: Scammers may pose as legitimate businesses, charities or government agencies to obtain your personal and financial information. Be cautious of any unsolicited calls or emails, and never provide personal information.
  2. Be Wary of Investment Opportunities: Investment scams are a common form of financial exploitation. Scammers may promise high returns or guaranteed profits, but these are often too good to be true. Always do your due diligence before investing your money, and be skeptical of investment opportunities that promise quick or easy profits.
  3. Protect Your Personal Information: Be careful when sharing your personal information, such as your name, address, phone number or email address. Scammers may use this information to open credit accounts or steal your identity. Shred documents that contain sensitive information and consider using a locked mailbox or a post office box to receive your mail.
  4. Stay Connected: Social isolation can make seniors more vulnerable to financial exploitation. Stay connected with family, friends and trusted advisors, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Consider joining a social club or community organization to stay engaged with others.

What to Do About Financial Exploitation
Financial exploitation is a serious crime that can have devastating consequences for its victims. If you, or someone you know, has been the victim of financial exploitation, it is important to take action as soon as possible. Follow these important steps:

  1. Contact the authorities: If you believe that a crime has been committed, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately. Report all details of the incident, including the date and time of the incident, the amount of money or property involved, and the identity of any individuals involved.
  2. Seek legal advice: Consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in elder law or financial exploitation. They can provide guidance on your legal options and help you navigate the complex legal process.
  3. Contact your financial institutions: If your bank account, credit card or other financial accounts have been compromised, contact your financial institutions immediately. Ask them to freeze your accounts and investigate unauthorized transactions.
  4. Keep detailed records: Keep detailed records of all financial transactions, including copies of checks, bank statements and other documents related to the incident. This information may be useful in pursuing legal action against the perpetrator.
  5. Seek emotional support: Consider talking to a therapist, counselor or joining a support group to help you cope with the emotional aftermath.

Report Fraud
If you suspect that you, or someone you know, is a victim of financial exploitation, report it to the appropriate authorities immediately. Contact the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) Enforcement and Consumer Protection Division at (202) 727-8000. You may also contact your local adult protective services agency, or your local law enforcement agency to report suspected cases of financial exploitation.

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