with Howard Tischler,
Founder and CEO of EverSafe
Q. What can adult children do to protect their parents from financial scams, especially if they do not live nearby?
A. There’s a lot you can do. But be aware that some older parents may need support and others may be doing just fine. Remember, your parents are used to taking care of you, not the other way around, so this can be a sensitive subject. Managing finances goes straight to a person’s sense of independence.
As a starting point, it makes sense to have a conversation, but it needs to be the right kind of conversation. The tone should be educational and never preachy. Do your parents understand not to give personal details in an email or phone call? Would they allow a neighbor or caregiver to open their mail or pay their bills?
How to Protect Your Older Parents
You can learn a lot in a conversation. But there’s more you can do, even if you live far away.
One way to monitor what’s going on is to arrange for online access to your parents’ financial accounts. Another is to arrange for a bill-paying service. Several apps now exist to help block robocalls, which can be fraudulent.
You also might find it useful to look at the kind of mail your parents are receiving. The Postal Service now lets people digitally review incoming envelopes (not the internal contents) through the Informed Delivery program that is available in many areas. This can give you an idea of the kinds of bills your parents are paying and the kinds of marketers that are targeting them.
But even those measures only go so far. True protection requires frequent monitoring of all accounts. It really calls for a holistic, continuous approach, because if something goes wrong, you want to catch it right away. That’s where a service like EverSafe can make a huge difference.
We examine an individual’s historical financial behavior to establish a personal profile. Then we analyze daily transactions to spot anything unusual, including withdrawals, missing deposits and more. If something looks out of the ordinary, we send an alert, which can also go to a trusted advocate like an adult child. Finally, if there is a problem, we’ll assist with the recovery plan.