Cyber Security

Elder Financial Exploitation

Jacob Cavaleri

Did You Know?

Each year, more than 3.5 million older adults are victims of financial exploitation and are swindled out of more than $3 billion altogether. The average loss per person is $34,200.

The Older Americans Act defines elder financial exploitation broadly as “the fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized, improper act or process of an individual, including a caregiver or fiduciary, that uses the resources of an older individual for monetary or personal benefit.”

This form of exploitation can be found across all social, educational, and economic boundaries. A humbling example that may hit close to home for some people is Cindy McBride’s story.

Her formal name may not sound familiar. Arizona sports fans often refer to her as “Flag Lady”— yes, the same lady we have watched for years, wave her flags in the upper deck of Chase Field, home of Diamondbacks baseball. She fell victim to a Facebook scam in which someone posed as an Air Force general, gained her friendship and trust, and swindled her out of nearly $200,000.

Sadly, such scams (via telephone, mail, social media, and email)  are common. The perpetrators of elder financial exploitation can be anyone. Often the crime involves theft of money or property by those you’d least expect, including family members, caregivers, and financial advisers.

Not all people who fall victim of these exploitations are as vocal about it as McBride. Hopefully her situation can serve as a source of caution and a way to begin a conversation with loved ones about the risks.

In most instances of suspected elder abuse, including financial exploitation, you should contact adult protective services. If the older person is in danger or a crime has been committed, call 911.

Click here to learn more and get tips for protecting yourself and your loved ones.

 

 

By |2022-08-23T12:59:01-07:00August 25th, 2022|Cyber Security, Financial Planning|

Understand Medical Identity Theft

Jacob Cavaleri - understand medical identity theftMedical identity theft is often over-looked and not discussed enough. It’s a form of fraud in which someone uses your personal information to receive medical services and bills your insurance or Medicare. According to the U.S. Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, roughly 1.5 million adults are found to be victims of this each year. It’s important to understand medical identity theft and to protect yourself.

Understand Medical Identity Theft

You may be a victim of medical identity theft if:

  • You get a bill for services you did not receive;
  • You’re told by your insurance company you have hit your limit on benefits when you have not; or
  • You receive a denial for coverage of a nonexistent medical condition.

If someone steals your medical identity, your records are compromised. That means you could  experience misdiagnosis, delays in treatment, or inappropriate care.

Reduce Your Risk

Taking a few quick, proactive steps to protect yourself may reduce your risk and save you a lot of time and frustration in the future.

  • Give personal information only to approved medical professionals.
  • Remove prescription labels before recycling or discarding the containers.
  • Shred papers with personal information before throwing them away.
  • Review your medical and insurance records periodically for suspicious information.
By |2022-06-28T07:48:51-07:00July 18th, 2022|Current Affairs, Cyber Security, Health Care, Insurance|

Conquer Your Paper Piles

Shannon Curkendoll - conquer your paper pilesWe’re living in an electronic age. Yet, many of us still have piles of paper throughout our homes. Money and finances are the biggest culprits when it comes to paperwork – bills, bank statements, insurance records, loan documents, investment accounts, and the list goes on. Here are some guidelines to help conquer your paper piles.

Sort and Organize

Tackle one pile at a time, and sort papers into  categories, like Pay, Read, File, Shred, and Recycle. You may find important receipts, unpaid bills, and other important items you didn’t realize were there. You’ll also probably find a lot of things you don’t need to keep. This flow chart can help you sort and organize.

Convert to Electronic

Once you’ve sorted your piles, you’ll probably find items and accounts that can go electronic. At Perspective, we converted client files to a secure online portal years ago (which clients can access at here). Important items like estate planning documents, insurance paperwork, and loan documents can be scanned and uploaded to your Perspective document vault.

Things like your credit card, phone, and utility bills can be managed online with text/email notifications or auto-pay.

After you’ve sorted your documents and determined which ones you need to keep in printed form, designate an easily-accessible place in your home where they can be filed and stored.

IRS Impersonation Scams on the Rise

IRS impersonation scamsAs the new year begins, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reminding taxpayers to protect their personal and financial information. Be aware there are many IRS impersonation scams that try to trick people out of their hard-earned money via text, email, and phone. This tax season, the IRS also warns people to watch out for signs of potential unemployment fraud.

Text Message Scams

Last year, there was an uptick in scam text messages that impersonated the IRS and referenced COVID-19 and/or stimulus payments. These messages often contain bogus links claiming to be IRS websites or other online tools.

Other than IRS Secure Access, the IRS does not use text messages to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds. The IRS also will not send taxpayers messages via social media platforms.

Unemployment Fraud

Many states have experienced a surge in fraudulent unemployment claims filed by organized crime rings using stolen identities. Criminals are using these stolen identities to fraudulently collect benefits. You may be a victim of unemployment identity theft if you’ve received:

  • mail from a government agency about an unemployment claim or payment for which you did not file. This includes unexpected payments or debit cards, and they could be from any state;
  • an IRS Form 1099-G reflecting unemployment benefits you were not expecting or did not receive. Box 1 on this form may show unemployment benefits you did not receive or an amount that exceeds benefits you did receive. The form itself could also be from a state in which you did not file for benefits; or
  • a notice from your employer indicating the employer received a request for information about an unemployment claim.

 

For more on keeping your financial data safe, click here to read our article on cyber security.

By |2022-02-11T15:32:34-07:00February 28th, 2022|Current Affairs, Cyber Security, Taxes|

Uncover Fraud

Uncover FraudBeing cautious about fraud schemes can help keep you and your finances safe. To help you uncover fraud, here are a few common scams occurring today.

Romance scam: Criminals pose as interested romantic partners on social media or dating websites.

Tech support scam: Criminals claim to be technology support representatives and offer to fix non-existent computer issues.

Grandparent scam: Frauds pose as a relative – usually a child or grandchild – claiming to be in immediate financial need.

Home repair scam: Scammers appear in person and charge homeowners in advance for home improvements.

Investment scam: Criminals offer unsuitable investments, fraudulent offerings, and unrecognized products.

Uncover Fraud with These Scam Protection Tips

  • Search online for the contact information and the proposed offer.
  • Resist pressure to act quickly. Scammers create a sense of urgency to produce fear and need for immediate action.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls, mailings, and door-to-door service offers.
  • Never provide any personally-identifiable information or wire money to unknown or unverified people or businesses.
  • Ensure all computer anti-virus and security software are up to date.
  • If victimized, take precautions to protect your identity and monitor your accounts for suspicious activity.
Source: Arizona Bank & Trust

In this digital age, privacy requires extra effort for each of us. Read more tips about cyber-security in the article below.

By |2021-10-12T11:13:22-07:00November 8th, 2021|Current Affairs, Cyber Security|