Bankers work to protect seniors from financial schemes

Hawaii’s seniors may be more vulnerable than others when it comes to financial schemes.

“The elderly are often targeted for scams because they have sizeable assets, they’re a little more trusting than others, they have a hard time saying no and lots of times, they may have diminished capacities,” said Corinne Tanna, Hawaii Bankers Association.

Tanna says bank employees have become more aware of the potential for financial schemes when it comes to seniors and are working to prevent problems before they happen.

“There is training for all of our front office people in terms of being more aware of seniors when they withdraw money, maybe ask them a couple of questions, what is it for, to make sure our seniors are not being taken advantage of,” Tanna said.

Seniors may be especially vulnerable in Hawaii due to children who may have left home for the mainland.

“They’re alone. They’re socially isolated and so they’re more prey to scammers or others who might want to take advantage of them — sometimes even caregivers,” Tanna said.

Schemes can vary from investment opportunities to roof repairs and more.

“Make sure you know who you’re dealing with, especially with charities,” Tanna said. “Make sure that the charity is legitimate. Do not give out any personal information. Make sure that all your credit cards and other personal items are stored away.”

Bankers are taking a proactive approach to help seniors keep from being taken advantage of financially.

“The Hawaii Bankers Association is soon going to launch a public service campaign to bring more awareness to scams in Hawaii and what to do to protect yourself,” Tanna said.

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