TDCI Shares Consumer Protection Tips for Seniors on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Thursday, June 15, 2017 | 9:13am

NASHVILLE – In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s (TDCI) Securities and Consumer Affairs Divisions offer essential tips to help older adults avoid falling victim to identify theft and financial abuse.

Elders are often targets for financial fraud and identity theft due in part to the amount of wealth they have accumulated throughout their careers, their tendency to be trusting, and their increasing isolation.

“Many in our older population are vulnerable due to social isolation and distance from family, caregivers, and other support networks,” TDCI Assistant Commissioner for Securities Frank Borger-Gilligan said. “As Tennesseans, we can all play a part in helping protect this population by keeping a watchful eye for signs of elder financial exploitation and promptly reporting possible abuse to appropriate officials.”

TDCI offers the following guidelines to help older adults and their loved ones recognize and avoid potential financial exploitation and fraud:

Senior Investor Tips

  • When a stranger asks for money, proceed with caution. Swindlers will exploit your good manners.
  • Before you invest, make sure your investment adviser is licensed. Extensive background information is available by contacting TDCI’s Securities Division.
  • Beware of salespeople who prey upon your fears. Fear can blind your good judgment. Only invest when you have all the facts and feel comfortable.
  • Don’t let embarrassment prevent you from reporting fraud or abuse. Every day that you delay reporting fraud or abuse is one more day that the con artist is spending your money and finding new victims.

Identity Theft Prevention Tips

  • Never buy from a stranger who calls or visits unannounced.
  • Shred all paperwork containing identifying information, healthcare information, banking information, or passwords.
  • Monitor bank and credit card statements.
  • Monitor your credit report.
  • Use direct deposit for benefit checks to prevent checks from being stolen.                                                             
  • Never give your credit card, banking, Social Security number, Medicare, or other personal information over the phone, unless you initiated the call.

If you suspect that you might be a victim of securities or insurance fraud, or if you would like to file a complaint or speak with an investigator, please contact the Tennessee Securities Division – Financial Services Investigations Unit at (615) 741-5900 or visit https://tn.gov/commerce/article/securities-file-a-complaint. Other types of elder abuse should be reported to the Tennessee Department of Human Resources Adult Protective Services Unit.

For more consumer tips, including additional resources on identity theft and other scams, visit the TDCI Consumer Affairs Division at www.tn.gov/consumer.

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