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How Can I Protect My Aging Parents from Elder Fraud Scams?

Protecting aging parents from elder fraud is a critical concern for many children, and several strategies can be employed to enhance their safety.  These measures encompass legal, financial, and practical steps to help protect aging parents from potential elder fraud in the future.

Power of Attorney (POA)

Establishing a General Durable Power of Attorney allows a trusted individual to make financial decisions on behalf of their parents.  This can be crucial in managing financial affairs and guarding against fraud.  A limited POA is similar but leaves more restrictions on the agent.  In that case, the principal gives limited authority to the agent for a specific purpose or matter.  A common example is to allow someone to oversee a specific real estate transaction, signing documents for the principal related to that specific transaction and property, but without authority to sign documents related to anything else.  Unlike a regular power of attorney, a durable power of attorney, whether limited or not remains in effect even if the individual becomes incapacitated.

Review Estate Planning Documents & Unauthorized Changes

Reviewing and updating estate planning documents, including wills and trusts, can ensure that your parents’ assets are protected and distributed according to their wishes.  This also helps in identifying and preventing unauthorized changes that might be indicative of fraud.  A good reminder is to always take a second or third look at anything that looks suspicious.  In addition to identifying any unauthorized changes, regularly reviewing bank and investment statements can help in the early detection of any unauthorized transactions.  In some cases, setting up alerts for unusual activity with financial institutions can be beneficial.  Regularly checking credit reports can help in identifying any unauthorized accounts or credit inquiries.

Educating About Common Scams

An important step in protecting your parents from scams is educating them about common types of elder fraud, such as phone scams, internet phishing, and identity theft.  Awareness is a key defense.  Financial institutions often allow the designation of a trusted contact person who can be alerted if there are concerns about unusual activity or suspected exploitation.  Reducing phone and mail solicitations can decrease the chances of scam attempts.  This can be done by registering with the National Do Not Call Registry and using mail filtering tools.  Ensure that personal information is securely stored and that your parents understand the importance of not sharing sensitive information with unknown individuals.


Prevention and vigilance are key in protecting your aging parents from elder fraud.  Regular communication and involvement in their financial affairs, within the bounds of their comfort and independence, can significantly reduce the risk of fraud.  Be aware of the legal recourse available in cases of suspected elder fraud.  This includes contacting local law enforcement, adult protective services, and consulting an attorney for potential legal actions.  Contact Legacy Counsellors today at or (413) 527-0517 for expert guidance tailored to your parents’ specific situation.