Frost: Tips to protect older Americans from Financial Fraud

Published 12:03 am Friday, May 31, 2019

In recognition of Older Americans Month in May, First National Bank USA is providing tips and advice to prevent financial exploitation of older adults.

Seniors are increasingly becoming targets for financial abuse.

People over 50 years old control over 70 percent of the nation’s wealth, and fraudsters are using new tactics to take advantage of the growing number of older Americans.

Bank employees are frequently trained to identify red flags commonly associated with financial abuse, from unusual recent withdrawals to a new person accompanying the older customer to the bank.

However, elder financial abuse is best combated when bankers and customers work together.

To help older Americans protect themselves, First National Bank USA is offering the following tips:

• Keep personal information private. Never share your social security number, account information, or personal details over the phone or internet, unless you initiated contact with a trusted source.

• Shred! Shred! Shred! Shred receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away so fraudsters can’t piece together your personal information.

• Don’t let a so-called “advisor” pressure you.  Never let a new or untrusted “advisor” pressure you into sharing personal or financial details. He or she could be a fraudster.

• Check your credit report.

Customers should check their credit report at least once a year to ensure no new credit cards or accounts have been opened by criminals in your name.

To receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website at or call 1-877-322-8228.

• Never rush into a financial decision.  Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion from a trusted financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.

Emily Frost is branch manager at First National Bank USA, which is locally owned and operated since 1975 with offices in Boutte and LaPlace.