There are many types of investment fraud you and your parents could fall victim to, including Ponzi schemes, advance fee fraud, market manipulation fraud and pyramid schemes, states the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Compared with other age groups, fraudsters may target your parents with different investment fraud schemes more often, and they may struggle to differentiate valid investments from fraudulent hoaxes.
You want to protect your parents from these schemes without hurting their feelings. Here are a few approaches that can help you prevent your parents from falling victim to investment fraud.
- Replace your parents’ landline
Your parents are less likely to receive spam phone calls over a cellphone than a landline, so consider disconnecting their landline and helping them set up cell service. You can also prevent scammers from getting your parents’ phone number by un-listing it.
- Check your parents’ credit reports
With your parents’ permission, pull copies of their credit reports. Then, review them thoroughly to make sure new fraudulent accounts have not opened up in their names. You should do this on a regular basis to catch any scams before they develop into larger problems.
- Avoid blaming
If you suspect someone targeted your parents and involved them in an investment fraud scheme, do not blame them for their participation. Instead, take a concerned approach and remind them that they should be careful about who they share their personal information and money with.
- Open the lines of communication
Do not tell your parents to simply hang up when they receive a solicitous call or throw away letters from potential scammers. Rather, ask them to consider the forms of communication they receive and if they have any validity. For example, you may remind your parents that the government does not ask for personal information over the phone or that you cannot win a contest you did not enter.