Elder Abuse - Financial Fraud

The demographics of Lake County make us a target for financial abuse and fraud amongst our older population.  Unfortunately, in banking, we see the worst of it. 

The National Council on Aging reports that 90% of all reported elder abuse is committed by the older person’s own family members.  Usually their adult children are the ones taking advantage. Other times, the perpetrators are strangers preying upon older individuals who may be lonely, confused, desperate for cash or attention or intimidated.

Recently, in our local news, the worst one can imagine happened when an elderly woman befriended known criminals. Friends and neighbors tried to advise her to stop the relationship, but loneliness and confusion led her to continuing the association that tragically ended in her death.

Usually, money or other assets are the only things taken. But after someone has worked their lifetime to plan for retirement, loosing their savings is devastating.

We warn customers regularly about fake lottery scams and have saved them thousands of dollars.  The lure of easy money can entice anyone, but the elderly are especially vulnerable. Customers are told they have won a foreign lottery and must send money to claim their winnings or are given a bad check to deposit but have to send a fee back.  After the fee is sent, the check comes back as fraudulent and is charged against the customer’s account. The check for winnings never arrives.

Tellers and CSR’s try to warn and reason with customers telling them that it is a scam and if they haven’t played the “Canadian” lottery, they could not have won it.

One particularly heinous case has cost a customer hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The scammers are from Jamaica and have been bold enough to pose as our customer on the phone asking for transfers and have given the victim scripting to use when bank staff questions requests for money transfers.

The scammers have had so many direct conversations with their victim that our customer has confidence in them in spite of continuous counseling from bank staff and a family member. Desperate to “win”, our customer is still sending money.

Other common schemes are:

Tips to protect yourself from the National Council on Aging are:

As family members, finding out your parent or loved one has been scammed can be frustrating, but since most elder abuse goes unreported because of embarrassment, be understanding and helpful. In order to help manage an aging family member’s finances, one must get a better understanding of their cash flow needs, bills, investment returns, estate plans and retirement benefits.

Contact with United Southern Bank’s Trust Department can also help you decide if financial management through our trust department is warranted.

Stay involved and interested and watch for these warning signs of financial abuse:

If you or a family member is a victim of financial fraud, you should report the activity immediately, cancel credit cards, open new bank accounts, and call Eldercare at 800-677-1116 to locate help in your area.

Remember to keep a close watch on your family and friends who might be at risk.


USB Personal Mobile and Online Banking

Track your money with mobile and online banking.   

  • Receive a text message when your direct deposit is made

  • Get a text message alert when a check clears or debit card payment is made

  • Set yourself up to receive a notice when your account drops below an amount you are comfortable with

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Business Customers should contact a CSR at any branch for enrollment forms.

USB Debit Card Enhancements

United Southern Bank debit card

There is more protection for your USB Card.

Use CardValetR within your mobile app to block use of your card, set purchasing limits and spending parameters.

Use your USB Card for purchases within your mobile wallet with AppleR and Android PayTM where accepted by retailers.

Get an immediate text alert if we suspect fraud and simply text us back if it's you for an approved transaction.

Use your USB Debit card with no surcharge fees at Presto at Publix Grocery stores and Allpoint locations through out the United States.  To find an Allpoint location download the app or click here.