Area bank announces financial elder abuse awareness days

Premier Bank is joining the national effort to protect seniors from becoming victims of fraud and financial abuse through participation in Elder Abuse Awareness Days on June 15 and 16.

The events will take place at most Premier Bank offices located in West Virginia, Virginia and the Washington, DC metro. Premier Bank encourages both seniors and their financial caregivers to visit participating branches for helpful information about how to recognize and avoid financial scams.

According to the American Bankers Association, each year older customers lose approximately $2.9 billion to fraud, but it is suspected that number is drastically underestimated because only 1 in 44 seniors report financial abuse. Safe Banking for Seniors is a new financial education program established by American Bankers Association Foundation to help combat this growing problem.

“Scammers are always developing new ways to rip people off, and sadly, they often targeting our seniors for numerous reasons,” said Mark Bias, president and CEO of Premier Bank. “We want to provide older customers and their financial caregivers with useful information they need to proactively protect themselves and their loved ones from these crimes.”

Premier Bank also offers the following tips for seniors and their financial caregivers:

  • Know the warning signs of scams. Scammers are always thinking of new ways to steal from seniors, but knowing the warning signs of scams will help stop fraud in its tracks. Paying fees or taxes for sweepstakes or lottery “winnings,” acting immediately on an offer or insisting on secrecy are characteristics of some types of fraud. When in doubt, talk to a trusted advisor, family member or friend.
  • Protect your financial identity. Some scammers are more interested in stealing financial identities to open new credit cards or loans in seniors’ names. Shred receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away. Never give personal information, including Social Security number, account number or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
  • Choose a responsible financial caregiver. Sadly, family members and friends can also take advantage of seniors and leave them in financial ruin. Plan ahead for the day that you may not be able to manage finances on your own.
  • Talk to your banker about options to ease financial caregiving responsibilities. Banks offer a wide range of services to help seniors and financial caregivers manage finances in accordance with seniors’ needs and desires.

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