When it comes to financial abuse, it’s hard to get objective numbers on how many people are affected each year. However, we do know that conmen tend to target older Americans and that it probably costs this demographic in the neighborhood of $3 billion every year. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this awful crime from occurring.
For one thing, consider taking on help to manage your finances. A trusted friend or family member could go a long way, though it makes a lot of sense to go with a professional financial planner or money manager. In any case, having one more set of eyes on your money is a great way to ensure that you won’t be easily exploited.
Speak with a reliable lawyer about getting a durable power of attorney clause setup for asset management. You should also look into creating a living will (e.g. one that can be revoked) and heath care and trust advance directives. Again, all of this makes it difficult for a conman to swoop in and run through your pockets.
No matter whom you speak to—whether it’s a family member, a lawyer or some expert—never let them pressure you into making hasty financial decisions. Simply practicing this kind of discipline, even with people you trust, will make it easier to be prudent when a less savory individual attempts to do the same.
Never give your social security number out to anyone you don’t 100% trust. If you don’t place the call, you never know whom you’re speaking to, so simply don’t hand it over. This is an important piece of information conmen love to have and know how to use.
Financial exploitation may be rampant in this day and age, but that doesn’t mean you need to become a victim. Consider the above advice and you’ll see would-be conmen coming a mile away.