There are many ways for children and grandchildren to help protect their older relatives from fraud. Deputy District Attorney Paul Greenwood offered CityBeat a few tips.
Have the bank mail you copies of statements. This will allow you to keep an eye on unusual expenditures.
Never hire a caregiver through a newspaper ad. Always go through a licensed agency. Ask the head of the agency what kind of background checks they do on staff. Most fraud starts with a caregiver with a police record. Greenwood recommends taking the extra step of hiring a private detective to do a background check on anyone who will be spending a lot of time in the relative's home.
Be wary whenever your grandparent or parent starts talking about new friends. 'If they say, 'I met this really sweet person, popped in a few times, he's always popping by,' then you should be worried,' Greenwood said.
Try to create a buddy system. Many children live far from their parents. Greenwood's parents are in England, but he has a neighbor keeping an eye out for strange visitors or anyone doing work on the house. The neighbors have greenwood's contact information, too.
Make unannounced visits. When you make unannounced visits, your grand parent will likely be thrilled to see you, and you might discover your relatives' new 'friend' hanging around the home. It also creates the opportunity to flip through the mail and notice any lottery scams or the like.