I wasn't sure where to put this, and it's not really a question but a nice list of helpful tips anyone can use:
After listening to all of the responses on here regarding senior independent living, something came to mind. I think it's time to share some tips for seniors who still maintain independence at home, especially those living alone.
I know that in some situations, seniors are able to remain independent. The mention of people checking on someone in their golden years is a blessing as long as no one takes advantage of them or abuses them. In order to stop this from happening, a few tricks can be put in place to help stop/preevent financial abuse before it ever happens,because prevention is key.
Definitely show appreciation for those who check on you, but don't let anyone take advantage of you in any way. Below are some tips you all can use (regardless of age) to help prevent elder financial abuse and to also maintain a very good level of independence as much as possible.
How to avoid scammers and being scammed:
Since I can only share what currently applies to me, I will say that the first step is for cell phone users. When you get a new cell phone, put all of your current contacts into that phone. That way, when someone calls you after you give them your number, their name should show up on your screen. If you get a call from an unknown caller or it says private, ignore it. There's been an awful lot of that's going around lately, and come to find out it's most likely scammers. Never answer a call from an unidentified person. If your software gives you the option to block that number, block it. If not, just hit the reject button or the end call, (whichever will drop the call).
Never answer any of the junk mail with advertisements for anyone trying to sell you something, and definitely ignore sweepstakes. You can Google the words 'opt out'. Follow all of the results and unregister your phone number. That way, telemarketers cannot call you.
For those using a computer, opt out of all promotions and advertisements. This will help reduce the chances of you being targeted through the mail.
For paying bills:
You can try setting up online automatic bill pay (from your end). If you don't know how to set it up, a banker will be able to help you. Never ever let any company gain access to your bank account. If you go to initiate business with any company and they insist on going in after payment, hang up or walk out, which ever applies to the situation. You'll send a strong message in doing so.
Paying bills online is really just a matter of set it and forget it if set up to be paid automatically and autonomously
Setting up online bill pay will save you legwork because you don't have to go around and pay your bills on the busiest day of the month when everyone else is out running around and also paying bills. I did this for my foster dad, and it freed up his time to do other things in the time he would normally be out paying bills.
Most importantly, you never want to give anyone access to your bank account, meaning don't let them come in and take out the money owed them, this puts you at risk of them getting greedy and taking more than they agreed amount. That's why setting up the bills to come out from your end is key to avoid being ripped off and double dipped. Before setting this up for my foster dad, I tested this for myself to see how reliable and trustworthy it really was. When it was proven trustworthy and reliable for a certain amount of time, I then set it up for my foster dad and monitored the account very carefully since it was from another bank. That bank's automatic bill pay also proved trustworthy and reliable.
The beautiful thing about automatic bill pay is that you don't have to carry cash anymore, especially since money is generally very dirty and carries lots and lots of potentially dangerous bacteria that can make you very sick. If you find yourself getting sick an awful lot, and you happen to carry cash, you may want to stop carrying cash and just use the pre-paid plastic that comes with your checking account instead. If you deal with strictly plastic, you don't even have to write any checks anymore. I haven't written any checks for quite some time, in fact some places no longer take checks around here. I've used my unique method for quite a while and it definitely works very well. I recommend it to anyone, especially if you happen to be a little older and live alone and happen to not have a vehicle. During the bad weather you don't have to go out when all of your bills are already taken care of by automatic online bill pay. All you do is set it up once, and after that you don't even need a computer most of the time unless there are any changes to the amounts on your bills that need updated.
Keeping your card in a safe place and not sharing it with anyone is key in helping to reduce the chances of financial abuse.