In one month, I have had two clients click a pop-up on their computer, call the number posted and give their checking account and routing numbers / online passcode to their bank to the scammer on the other end of the call. Thankfully, neither of them resulted in any losses, but the amount of work created has been almost overwhelming.
I have told both my clients and their families that the computer does pose an increased risk to becoming a fraud victim. The science tells us that as we age, we become MORE trusting.
Both clients have some cognitive impairment. One immediately recognized her mistake and called the bank, but the other one we thankfully walked in to see the person controlling the computer and immediately turned it off.
We have a lot of people that are sitting along in their homes for longer periods of time and looking to find ways to entertain themselves. In addition to isolation being unhealthy, now it seems the accompanying boredom has made older adults ripe for engagement.
If you have a loved one you are worried about, is there a way to contact their bank to be alerted when a new bill payee is added to the account? Can you receive alerts if a transfer is requested?
Managing the purpose and meaning of handling your finances with the risk of having access to money is a fine line.
The one option that seems to help as someone is getting more forgetful and becoming a greater risk is to set up a sister account that includes a check book and only maintains a small balance. For many clients, we work with them to move money to the account when they write a larger check, but are also minimizing the risk of loss. Often, they don’t even know it is a different account and just share the spending with us when we call and visit.
Are you all seeing this increase?
Have you had any success with other options?
The best offense if a good defense. Practiced.