Protect Your Parents' Wealth

by Jill Francis on March 27th, 2015

In the March 2015 issue of MORE magazine, Liz Weston writes an article on protecting our parents' wealth and five warning signs that they may be victims of a scam.  Here's the abbreviated list, for the finer details you can read this month's issue of MORE.

1.  Your parents get numeous unsolicited calls.  Scammers know seniors are more likelly to answer the phone and less likely to hang up....sign them up for the Do Not Call List ( if it becomes an issue.

2.  Your parents' mailbox is full of donation requests, especially of organizations to which they have no connection.  You can opt them out of unsolicited mail by signing them up for the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service (  Any mailings they receive after that are most likely fraudulent.

3.  Key documents are being changed.  Do your parents have a new "friend" or long lost relative they wish to add to their accounts or power of attorney?  This is a warning sign that someone is trying to take advantage of them.

4.  You're being shut out.  One reason seniors are reluctant to admit they are victims is that the exploiters are often people they love.  The exploiter tries to isolate the victim and tells them that he/she is the only one who truly loves them.  Contact your county's Adult Protective Services office ( if you are concerned.

5.  There's an unconfirmed emergency.  Since 2010 the Federal Trade Commission has reported more than 40,000 "grandparent scams", in which a pretend grandchild calls and says he needs cash fast to deal with an emergency.  Tell your parents to verify any supposed emergency withthe alleged victim's family members or come up wiht a secret password that they can use to substantiate the claim.

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