Finance: Elder financial abuse

By Element

Photo / Getty
Photo / Getty

Research shows New Zealanders lose over $400 million per year to scams.? The elderly community are particularly vulnerable to scams and fraud or just plain theft.

As technology changes and the complexity of scams and fraud evolves, the need to support elderly against this has increased. Scammers target victims through: door-to-door approaches; emails; landline and mobile phones; internet; and credit cards through fraudulent schemes.

The most common scams include emails asking you to send money, letters saying you've won a prize or calls telling you your computer needs fixing and door-knockers asking for work around your home.

They may pose as charities, psychics or even dating agencies. Scammers typically send out false bank-branded emails and ask you to click on a link - banks will never work this way.

Another technique is stealing an elderly person's credit card, then pretending to be from the bank or police and asking for their PIN to cancel the card.

Never give out your PIN or password to anyone. Do not let cards out of your sight.

Fraudsters have been known to take photos of the cards with their phones. Also check statements regularly for unusual transactions.

If you have been scammed contact your bank immediately. Never give out information about yourself to strangers - over the phone, at your door, or on your computer. Bronwyn Groot is BNZ's Financial Elder Abuse Prevention Specialist and runs workshops to arm the elderly with information and tools to prevent them from being tricked out of money.

BNZ works closely with Age Concern which runs an annual elder financial abuse awareness campaign.

For more information visit: ageconcern.org.nz

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