No matter how careful you are, anyone can become a victim of
financial fraud. However, older adults are particularly at risk.
The best defense against fraud is an educated consumer, so here
are some tips for seniors that can help them keep their finances
Keep an eye out for fraud red flags.
Be aware of and watchful for the classic red flags of fraud.
These include someone expressing a new or unusual interest in
your finances, an offer that seems too good to be true, pressure
to send funds quickly by wire transfer, asking for money and
insisting on secrecy, and an unexpected email or phone call
requesting private information.
Be careful on the phone.
Many times perpetrators of fraud glean the information they need
to commit the crime by making unsolicited calls to their
victims. Sometimes the callers pretend to be from a legitimate
company. For example, the Federal Trade Commission received
complaints about phone scammers claiming to represent the
Medicare program and demanding personal information. Many of
these callers cited the health care reform law as the reason for
the call. Always verify this type of call by requesting the
caller's name and then hanging up and calling the number you
have on record (such as on a credit card or billing statement).
Other times, the perpetrator may pretend to be a family
member in trouble. These calls often start with a plea for help,
such as "I'm
in jail and need bail money" or "my wallet was stolen and I
can't get home" or similar claims. If you receive a suspicious
call like this, always check with another family member about
whether the relative in question is really in trouble and needs
If you suspect fraud, report it.
If you think you may be a victim of fraud, or if someone has
attempted to con you, report it immediately to the police. Many
people make the mistake of not telling anyone they have been
victimized. Keep in mind that by telling your story, you may
prevent the perpetrator from taking advantage of someone else.
Inspect your credit report.
Credit reports contain information about you, including what
accounts you have and your bill payment history. The law
requires the major nationwide consumer reporting
companies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—to give you a free
report each year if you ask for it. Visit
or call 1-877-322-8228 to order your free credit reports each
For other safeguards on how to deter, detect and defend against
being a victim, to go www.baylake.com.