Senior Financial Sources, Alerts and Care Giving Information 

Young lady hugging an older lady in wheelchair
 This page is to provide Seniors and caregivers of Senior Citizens information to protect them from scams, elder abuse and helpful links to dependable sources. 
 

Impostor Scams

Texts, calls or an email from someone could potential defraud you or a loved one out of their savings.  
A call in the middle of the day, or most any time from someone claiming to be a loved one in desperate need for cash immediately is a really big red flag. Urgency and secrecy  is one of the major scams used to separate you from your hard earned savings.  
 
True event:  An unsuspecting grandmother gets a call from someone posing as their grandchild frantic, "I been arrested and please don't tell mom and dad they will kill me".  "I need you to send $2,000.00, so I can get out before they get home." The impostor puts someone on the phone to give instructions to send money by Western Union. Caught off guard and worried about a grandchild will cause actions that would seem impossible a reality as they race to get the money sent for their release.  As time passed they grandparent gets another call after the first payment is sent, they now need to hire a lawyer to file the proper paperwork to get released.  Now they will need to send another $3,000.00 for the attorney. 
 
A panicked grandparent now rushes to send those funds, but on the way to make Western Union transfer a little doubt is beginning to set in.  So they call the grandchild and can not reach them, which further solidifies the hoax.  So they send the additional money. 
 
A few hours pass and the grandchild sees a missed call and calls up the grandparent to see if they needed them.  Once it is discovered the child was working and did not have their phone with them, the grandparent is so embarrassed to have been tricked into sending all their savings, they do not tell what has happened for days. 
 
Once money is transferred the fraudsters move on with out a trace and the victim is out $5,000.00.  Police reports may be filled but it will not bring comfort to the victim financially or emotionally.       Another very similar incident in AARP Bulletin, January/February 2017
Other Scams you should be aware of: 
Government Impostor Scams
FTC Family Emergency Scams
Everything You Need to Know About the Grandparent Scam
 
If someone calls, texts or emails with these tactics....NEVER give your personal or financial information,  NEVER send money, gift cards, money transfers and DO report it to FTC at FTC Complaint Assistant 
Information provided as of 10/2018
 

Reverse Mortgage 101: Terminology, Tips & More

The vast majority of older Americans want to remain in their homes as they grow older, also known as aging in place. There are a number of costs to consider when aging in place including home modifications, transportation and in-home medical care. One way to pay for these costs and stay in your home is a reverse mortgage. If you’re considering a reverse mortgage, the American Bankers Association encourages you to understand what it is and weigh the pros and cons.
Terminology: What You Need to Know
Reverse Mortgage – A reverse mortgage is a type of loan that allows you to borrow against the equity in your home. You must be at least 62 years-old to qualify.
  • Home Equity – This is the value of your home minus debt against it.
  • Homeowner – With a reverse mortgage, you are still a homeowner and still responsible for paying property taxes, insurance and upkeep.
  • Repayment – When the loan is over, you or your heirs must repay cash received from the loan plus interest. The reverse mortgage loan becomes due when the borrower dies, sells the home or moves out of the home. The lender may also require repayment if you fail to pay your property taxes, fail to keep your home insured or fail maintain your home. Be sure to read the terms of the agreement closely before signing.
  • Fees – Just like with any other mortgage product, there will be fees to close the loan. Lenders may allow you to pay the fees using your reverse mortgage. They are added on to the balance of your loan and must be repaid with interest when the loan is due.
  • Total Annual Loan Cost – Because different reverse mortgage products can vary, it can be difficult to compare prices and choose the best one for you. Ask your lender for the Total Annual Loan Cost, a single annual average rate, to help compare various reverse mortgage products.
  • Co-Borrower – If you live with a spouse or partner, it is highly recommended that you apply for the reverse mortgage together as co-borrowers. Anyone living in the home who is not a co-borrower will be required to pay the loan or move out when you move or die.
  • Payout Options – The way you take cash from your reverse mortgage can vary. You can opt for a line of credit to take cash only when you need it, a monthly payout, or a single lump sum.
Tips: Key Considerations and Red Flags
  • Shop around. Be sure to check with multiple lenders. You can use sites like www.reversemortage.org , sponsored by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, to find lenders in your area.
  • Understand your options. Be sure to evaluate all the options you have including applying for a home equity line of credit or home equity loan. Also consider selling your home.
  •  Be cautious. If someone is selling you something and suggests you use a reverse mortgage to pay for it, consult a trusted adviser before signing anything.
  •  Nothing is free. If anyone suggests that a reverse mortgage is free money, don’t believe it. Fees are built into the loan, which must be paid back with interest when it becomes due.
  •  Know your rights. After closing the loan on a reverse mortgage you have three business days to reconsider your decision. If you choose to rescind the loan, you must do so in writing.
  •  Consider borrowing jointly. If the reverse mortgage is in one person’s name and that person dies or leaves the home, the loan will become due. If there are two people living in the home – make sure you’re both on the loan or able to repay the loan – otherwise, you may end up losing the property.
  •  Consider your age. Be cautious if a lender is suggesting you do this at an early age. Your debt will begin to grow and equity will decrease as soon as you take out the reverse mortgage. The longer you have the loan, the more it will cost.
  •  Only take what you need. Carefully consider your payout options. Keep in mind that if you take the full amount of the loan in one lump sum, you will be charged full interest on the largest possible loan amount.

Elder Care

As loved ones age, we want to provide them with the best care possible. Visit www.eldercare.com for help connecting with skilled, compassionate providers for a better quality of life for you or your loved one.
Additionally, click the link below for helpful tips regarding Elder Financial Abuse. It's a crime that deprives older adults of their resources and ultimately their independence.
Elder abuse isn't limited to financial abuse. The National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) is a national non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization with members in all 50 states. The goal of NAPSA is to provide Adult Protective Services programs a forum for sharing information, solving problems, and improving the quality of services for victims of elder and vulnerable mistreatment.
 

What is Elder Financial Abuse? 

It’s a crime that deprives older adults of their resources and ultimately their independence. Anyone who sees signs of theft, fraud, misuse of a person’s assets or credit, or use of undue influence to gain control of an older person’s money or property should be on the alert. Those are signs of possible exploitation. Older Americans that may have disabilities or rely on others for help can be susceptible to scams and other fraud. Advances in technology can also make it difficult for seniors to know who to trust and what's safe.
Despite these threats, taking simple steps to safeguard personal information and being aware of warning signs can protect aging men and women from financial abuse.
Tips for Seniors: 
What should you do to protect yourself?
  • Plan ahead to protect your assets and to ensure your wishes are followed. Talk to someone at your financial institution, an attorney, or financial adviser about the best options for you.
  •  Shred receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
  •  Carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters.
  •  Lock up your checkbook, account statements and other sensitive information when others will be in your home.
  •  Order copies of your credit report once a year to ensure accuracy.
  •  Never give personal information, including Social Security Number, account number or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
  •  Never pay a fee or taxes to collect sweepstakes or lottery “winnings.”
  •  Never rush into a financial decision. Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion.
  •  Consult with a financial adviser or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.
  •  Get to know your banker and build a relationship with the people who handle your finances. They can look out for any suspicious activity related to your account.
  • Check references and credentials before hiring anyone. Don’t allow workers to have access to information about your finances.
  •  Pay with checks and credit cards instead of cash to keep a paper trail.
  •  Feel free to say “no.” After all, it’s your money.
  •  You have the right not to be threatened or intimidated. If you think someone close to you is trying to take control of your finances, call your local Adult Protective Services or tell someone at your bank.
  •  Trust your instincts. Exploiters and abusers often are very skilled. They can be charming and forceful in their effort to convince you to give up control of your finances. Don’t be fooled—if something doesn’t feel right, it may not be right. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
What should you do if you are a victim of financial abuse?
  • Talk to a trusted family member who has your best interests at heart, or to your clergy.
  •  Talk to your attorney, doctor or an officer at your bank.
  •  Contact Adult Protective Services in your state or your local police for help.
Tips for Family and Friends:
What are the warning signs of financial abuse?
The key to spotting financial abuse is a change in a person’s established financial patterns. Watch out for these “red flags”:  
  • Unusual activity in an older person’s bank accounts, including large, frequent or unexplained withdrawals.
  •  ATM withdrawals by an older person who has never used a debit or ATM card.
  •  Changing from a basic account to one that offers more complicated services the customer does not fully understand or need.
  •  Withdrawals from bank accounts or transfers between accounts the customer cannot explain.
  •  New “best friends” accompanying an older person to the bank.
  •  Sudden non-sufficient fund activity or unpaid bills.
  •  Closing CDs or accounts without regard to penalties.
  • Uncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money. 
  • Suspicious signatures on checks, or outright forgery.
  • Confusion, fear or lack of awareness on the part of an older customer.
  •  Refusal to make eye contact, shame or reluctance to talk about the problem.
  •  Checks written as “loans” or “gifts.”
  •  Bank statements that no longer go to the customer’s home.
  •  New powers of attorney the older person does not understand.
  •  A caretaker, relative or friend who suddenly begins conducting financial transactions on behalf of an older person without proper documentation.
  •  Altered wills and trusts.
  •  Loss of property.
What should you do if you suspect financial abuse?
  •  Talk to elderly friends or loved ones if you see any of the signs mentioned here.Try to determine what specifically is happening with their financial situation, such as a new person “helping” them with money management, or a relative using cards or credit without their permission.
  •  Report the elder financial abuse to their bank, and enlist their banker’s help to
    stop it and prevent its recurrence.
  •  Contact Adult Protective Services in your town or state for help.
  •  Report all instances of elder financial abuse to your local police—if fraud is involved, they should investigate.
Remember: Never give your Social Security number, account numbers or other personal financial information over the phone unless you initiated the call.