Words of warning—Local financial adviser Noah Kendrick offers some advice on how to keep loved ones from feeling the sting of a scam.
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Carefree adviser offers tips against financial scams
Staff Report~ 4/16/2014
Scams can target anyone, but the senior population might be the most exposed demographic to deceptive schemes. Can those with older parents or grandparents do anything to prevent them from being victimized, especially with regard to their finances?
According to Noah Kendrick, financial advisor at Edward Jones in Carefree, there’s a lot a person can do. First and foremost, Kendrick said that younger family members need to maintain healthy communications and a trusting relationship with their older family members. As long as these elements are present, the following suggestions are likely to apply:
- Increase awareness—When it comes to financial fraud and scams, many seniors think: “It can’t happen to me.” But Kendrick said that some 20 percent of Americans over the age of 65 admit to having been victimized by financial swindles, according to a survey by the non-profit Investor Protection Trust. Let loved ones know that no one in their age group is immune to financial predators
- Guard private information—Kendrick stressed that it is important to ask parents or grandparents to not divulge personal information over the phone. In fact, urge them to get caller ID if they don’t have it already, and tell them that if they don’t recognize the number, don’t answer. Legitimate callers are more likely to leave messages than scammers
- Don’t send money—Exhort parents or grandparents to never wire money to a random account, Kendrick said, with no exceptions
- Ignore “limited-time offers”—Callers, mailers or emails that demand immediate action should be ignored. These offers are often overblown at best and may be fraudulent at worst
- Don’t trust “no risk” offers—Financial offers that sound too good to be true are likely just that—untrue—said Kendrick. The financial advisor added that legitimate investments carry both potential risks and rewards.
- Avoid “debt-settlement” claims—If older loved ones have debt problems, they may be especially susceptible to offers that claim to “clear up” all their debts. Kendrick said that there is no quick fix to this problem, and any caller who claims otherwise is likely being deceitful. Encourage parents or grandparents to discuss their debt situation with an honest, professional debt counselor or a financial advisor
Helping introduce vulnerable parents or grandparents to a trusted and qualified financial professional—if they don’t already work with one—can also combat against financial fraud, Kendrick said; they will be less likely to listen to any questionable, unsolicited offers than if they were trying to manage their finances on their own.
Most importantly, Kendrick said that those watching out for their older loved ones are in a good position to know how much, or how little, help they may need in terms of avoiding financial abuse. He recommended being willing to do whatever it takes to help them enjoy their retirement years comfortably.
For more information, contact Noah Kendrick at Edward Jones, 37555 Hum Rd., Suite 205, in Carefree, or call 480-595-2041.