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Protect yourself from fraud

Protection against financial abuse and tips for prevention

How to protect yourself and your loved ones

The financial abuse of elder and vulnerable adults in our society is growing, especially as more Americans continue to reach age 65. Santander Bank wants to protect all of our customers from fraud, particularly elderly and/or vulnerable adults. We offer a wealth of information designed to help you protect yourself and those you care about from financial abuse.

How to take action against financial abuse

Here are some ways to keep your money and information safe:
  • Never give out personal information over the phone, including your Social Security number, bank account number, debit or credit card number, or any other financial information — unless you initiated the call and trust the other party.
  • Never rush into a financial decision. Always ask and insist on details in writing and get a second opinion.
  • Feel free to say no. After all, it’s your money.
  • Check references and credentials before hiring anyone. Don’t allow workers to access information about your finances.
  • Pay with checks and credit cards instead of cash, to keep a paper trail.
  • Trust your instincts. If something involving your finances doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
  • Get to know your banker and branch managers. Build a relationship with the people who handle your finances. They can look out for you and flag any suspicious activity related to your account.

When looking out for friends and family, don’t ignore these signs:
  • ATM withdrawals by a person who has never used a debit or ATM card.
  • New "best friends" accompanying a vulnerable adult to the bank.
  • Uncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money.
  • Addition of names to cards or accounts.
  • Sudden non-sufficient activity, unpaid bills, or other changes in financial condition.
  • Refusal to make eye contact, or shame or reluctance to talk about the problem.

When looking out for friends and family, don’t ignore these signs:
  • Talk to elderly friends or loved ones if you see any of the signs mentioned above. Try to determine what is happening with their financial situation, such as a "new" person helping them with money management, or a relative using cards or credit without their permission.
  • Report the suspected elder financial abuse. Visit the friend’s or relative’s bank and ask to speak with the person who handles suspected financial abuse claims.

When looking out for friends and family, don’t ignore these signs:

More information

Staying informed is the best possible defense. There are a lot of useful websites from the U.S. government and other reputable sources, some linked here:

Online gaming safety

The FTC also offers tips on protecting yourself from fraud, interactive games to learn concepts and how to be a smarter consumer on issues of spyware, lottery scams, etc., here:

Fraudulent business safety

The Federal Trade Commission protects consumers from unfair and fraudulent business practices, ID theft, phone scams, and more:
How to Prevent Phone Fraud
How to Prevent ID Theft
Money Matters