You didn’t make it to this age without learning a few things—including how money makes the world go round. Everyone wants more than their fair share, even if it means stealing it. There are many frauds and scams that have tricked even the financially savvy younger person. A senior is more at risk as they’re often more trusting, or simply willing to gamble away their hard-earned retirement money for a “sure thing”.
It should be up to you if you wish to toss some money towards that cat shelter you love, or if you want to take a cruise. No one should ever pressure you into giving you money. Hey, as long as your bills are paid, it’s up to you!
And it’s not just strangers that you have to worry about scamming you, but your closest friends and family too. Unless you’re suffering some form of dementia, Alzheimer’s or other mental incapacitation—in these cases a trust can manage your money—you should remain in full control of your finances.
Here are few tips to help stay safe in the world of finance, whether online or real world.
Be Wary of Joint Bank Accounts or Credit Cards
It’s one thing to have your spouse as a joint owner on your savings or checking accounts, but when you add a son or daughter, it can lead to trouble. For one, there could be issues over how the money is spent. As we said above, if you’re in complete control of your faculties—if you understand that word then you are!—there is simply no need to add another person to your account.
The same can also be said for signing up for a credit card or adding your name to a child’s credit card. The last thing you want is to be presented with a credit card bill for unexpected charges, which then means you can’t take that vacation to Hawaii!
Never share bank account information, credit card information, or passwords. Unfortunately, people will snoop. Keep your details in a safe and hidden location. Always keep your wallet or purse near you, or tuck it into a safe spot when the company is over.
How to Deal with Demanding People Over Finances
There’s that old saying “there are no real emergencies unless you’re lying on the ground unconscious or the house is on fire”. If you’re met with demands over money or finances, you’re under no obligation to present the demander with information.
Remain calm. If this is a person in real life, ask to sit down to discuss it. Find out what their reasons are for making the demand. Ask if you can have further information. For instance, if they’re asking to be a cosigner of your checking account, have them obtain information from the bank (brochure) that explains how it works.
Tell them that you must think about it first. Then, do your research. It’s up to you if you want to say no.
Likewise, if you’re out in public, and someone is demanding you hand over a credit card to ‘sign up for the most amazing deal ever”, then ask for more information.
There is no great hurry for money that you don’t have a week or so to think it over and ask for the advice of other friends or relatives first.
If you’ve made your final decision and it’s “no” then inform your friend, children, neighbor, or salesperson. If they get angry with you, that’s their problem.
Acknowledge that you understand that they’re angry, but you’re not a child. Hey, it pays to mention the times when you could have used help and they were nowhere to be seen!
Another problem that may come up will be a demand to lend them money. This is a simple “no”. You can make a joke and say “If I had $500, I’d be at the cheap hotel in Florida by now”.
You may have to withdraw from the relationship if anyone is making unreasonable demands.
Avoiding Telemarketer Calls
These are perhaps the simplest to handle. Don’t answer the telephone if you do not recognize the number. If you do, and they are not a friend or relative, then hang up. This also weeds out any scammers.
If they say it’s your bank calling, find out why. You can always hang up, find your bank’s phone number and call them back to see if it’s legitimate.
Email, Text, or Social Media Messages
It seems like the scammers are always one step ahead of the new messaging technology we have today. The same is applicable. If you don’t recognize the source of the message, delete it immediately.
Some people also get their messaging system hacked into, so delete anything that seems out of character for them, and then give them a call.
Be Wary in Public
We’ve all watched the videos of strangers on the streets assisting seniors, only to discover that someone took the wallet right out of their purse or pocket! Don’t be a victim. Go through your wallet and keep only the most pertinent credit cards, a bit of cash and coins, and membership cards. Get rid of those scraps of paper.
Now place your wallet inside your front pants pocket or an inner pocket of your coat or jacket. It will be a lot safer from sneaky hands, and should your purse or bag ever get grabbed, it won’t matter, as all they will have is your box of Depends diapers.
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Buy a Paper Shredder
Buy a paper shredder—cheap ones run about $20—and shred every bit of paper that has your personal information on it, before you toss it in the bin. This includes names, addresses, account balances, account numbers, and more. You can still place the shredded paper in your recycling bin.
You’re Now in Charge of Your Finances
It’s far better to have someone angry with you than to have your personal information compromised. With a little care, your hard-earned savings will be protected and spent the way you really want!
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