Rogersville, TN- First Community Bank of East TN (FCB) is joining the national effort to protect seniors from becoming victims of fraud and financial abuse by promoting the ABA’s Safe Banking for Seniors program during Older Americans Month (May) and throughout the year as we share tips, visit senior centers, and engage with our customers via social media, in our branches, and our website.
Each year older customers lose approximately $2.9 billion to fraud, but it is suspected that number is drastically underestimated because only 1 in 44 seniors report financial abuse. Safe Banking for Seniors is a new financial education program established by American Bankers Association Foundation to help combat this growing problem.
Scammers are always developing new ways to rip people off, and sadly, they often target our seniors for numerous reasons. The Safe Banking for Seniors program will provide older customers and their financial caregivers with the knowledge they need to proactively protect themselves and their loved ones from these crimes.
First Community Bank of East TN also offers the following tips for seniors and their financial caregivers:
- Know the warning signs of scams. Scammers are always thinking of new ways to steal from seniors, but knowing the warning signs of scams will help stop fraud in its tracks. Paying fees or taxes for sweepstakes or lottery “winnings”, acting immediately on an offer, or insisting on secrecy are characteristics of some types of fraud. When in doubt, talk to a trusted advisor, family member or friend.
- Protect your financial identity. Some scammers are more interested in stealing financial identities to open new credit cards or loans in seniors’ names. Shred receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away. Never give personal information, including Social Security Number, account number or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call, and the other party is trusted.
- Choose a responsible financial caregiver. Sadly, family members and friends can also take advantage of seniors and leave them in financial ruin. Plan ahead for the day that you may not be able to manage finances on your own.
- Talk to your banker about options to ease financial caregiving responsibilities. Banks offer a wide range of services to help seniors and financial caregivers manage finances in accordance with seniors’ needs and desires.