We have all heard report of older people losing their life savings because they were scammed by someone they trusted.  

Unfortunately,  these incidences are significantly under-reported because up to 90 percent of perpetrators are family members or other people the victim knows well, such as caretakers, neighbors, or friends, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. For this reason, many victims don’t want to prosecute.

In addition, as people grow older, they may find it more difficult to track financial details which makes them more susceptible to scams.  They also lose touch with other family members and friends.  Here are five ways to protect yourself or a loved one from scams from AARP.

  • 1

    Make A Plan

    When a person is still mentally sharp, help him or her make a plan that designates power of attorney and health care directives.

  • 2

    Stay Connected

    Stay connected with older family members through regular phone calls, visits or emails.Develop a relationship with your parent’s caregiver, and they will be less likely to financially exploit your loved one because they know you’re paying attention.

  • 3

    Monitor Accounts

    Become a “trusted contact” to monitor bank account and brokerage activity.

  • 4

    Track Spending

    Sign up for a service such as EverSafe to track financial activity and notify an advocate of unusual withdrawals or spending.

  • 5

    Keep Others Out of Your Account

    Set up direct deposit for checks so others don’t have to cash them. Do not sign any documents that you don’t understand.