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Tips to help elderly parents avoid phone scams

Phone scams are becoming more and more common. Sadly, elderly people are often be a target because they may not know any better or realize that the phone call is not from a legitimate source. You may be able to protect your loved ones financially by teaching them about the warning signs of a scam. Here are 3 quick lessons to share with them:

1. Never make donations over the phone.

One tactic scammers use is to invent a fake charity and ask for donations to the cause. They usually give quite a bit of information about the fake organization to make it sound believable. They then proceed to ask for credit card information over the phone. Any real organization would have other donation options. Ask for the name of their website to make a donation there. If they do not have one, they are likely a scammer.

2. Never give personal information over the phone.

Aside from your credit card information, scammers may also try to get your birthday, address and Social Security number to steal your identity. You should never offer this information over the phone.

There are a lot of ways scammers try to get this information. An example would be a call saying you won a lottery or won a grand prize from a raffle or contest. If you do not remember entering any such contest, you have no reason to give away information to collect this so-called "prize."

3. Always verify bank issues in person.

Some callers will tell you that something is wrong with your bank account or credit card and that you need to call the number they give you to fix it. Do not call that number. Go to your bank and verify the security of your account. They can tell you if there are issues or suspicious activities on it. If there does happen to be a problem, you can fix it right there in person at the bank.

If your loved ones get scammed

There are many other scam tactics than the ones listed here. Even if your loved ones know about these red flags, they may still become a victim. If this happens, report the phone number and talk to an attorney specializing in financial elder abuse to learn what options you have.

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