Senior Fraud Protection – Paying Bills Protect and Security
You may have seen the New York Times article, “The Lives and Lies of a Professional Impostor,” on February 4, 2016. The article describes many crimes a scam artist committed including the theft of more than $70,000 using a phony check.
How was this done? The victim put a check in the mail to pay a bill and the thief simply took the envelope out of the victim’s mailbox. Using the valid check, the thief was able to print phony checks with the same routing number and bank account information and easily steal money from the victim.
This incident highlights an issue we often address with families of vulnerable seniors: Seniors may be more easily victimized by thieves who commit fraud. Thieves scope out certain neighborhoods to identify and target the susceptible, including unsuspecting elderly individuals who frequently place checks in mailboxes to pay bills.
Because of security issues, it is preferable to mail checks from a post office location or hand them to a mail carrier rather than leave them in unsecured mailboxes. For a homebound senior, this task may be daunting. If an elderly person has stopped driving, it may not be feasible to drive to the post office.
Another alternative to help prevent this type of scam is to use a bill paying service like SilverBills to take care of paying bills. SilverBills employs technology on our clients’ behalf to pay their bills, and we never use paper checks to pay our clients’ bills. So, there is no risk of checks being stolen and replicated by thieves. And our clients can benefit from using technology without even having access to computers. SilverBills does this on their behalf. At SilverBills, our best practices help prevent elder fraud and theft.
By paying bills electronically using bank-level security, SilverBills helps our clients age with dignity and security and protects them from being victimized by scam artists and criminals.