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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.

Be aware of common fraudulent practices

Fraudsters will try to gain information that gives them access to your accounts in a number of deceitful ways, including emails intended to attract you and get you to click on a fake website, or text messages intended to alarm you and get you to call fake call centers. In some instances, clicking the link opens the phone, tablet, or laptop to malware, which allows the fraudster access to the device. In other instances, the link prompts a website or a phone call where the fraudsters pretend to be a legitimate business, like Microsoft, Amazon, or Santander. They then ask for personal information they can later use to access your account(s), or open new, fraudulent ones.

We will never ask you to provide confidential information through text or email. If you receive a request for this information from someone claiming to be a representative of Santander, please do not respond.

If you received an email that looks suspicious and appears to be from Santander, please send it to

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, such as your name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission. This is fraud. The Federal Trade Commission has online guidance about the steps consumers can take to protect themselves against identity theft. You can access their site at this ID Theft Resource Center.

In the unlikely event you're a victim of identity theft, we will work with you each step of the way to help resolve the problem. Contact us at 877-906-7500.

Take the following steps if you think you are a victim of identity theft:

  • Close any affected account(s) and open a new account(s).
  • File a police report with local law enforcement.
  • Report suspected identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit file by contacting one of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies listed below:
  • Order your free annual credit reports from the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies through — or call 877‑322‑8228 — and review them carefully.

Here are typical scams that target seniors and disabled adults. Don’t be fooled.

  • Lottery and sweepstakes. You're called and told: "You've already won! Just send $2,500 to cover your taxes."
  • Home repair/traveling con men. "We're in the area and can coat your driveway, or fix your roof."
  • Grandparent con. You're called and told your grandson is in jail and you need to send money immediately.
  • Charity scam. You receive a call from someone soliciting funds for good causes — this is very common after natural disasters or other large-scale emergencies.
  • Utility worker con. You receive a knock at the door from a would-be utility worker who says, "I need you to come outside with me for a minute," while an accomplice steals your valuables.
  • Back taxes scam. You're called and told that if you don't pay your "back taxes," your license or passport will be suspended.
  • Fake checks. You receive a check for expenses associated for a job such as "mystery shopping" with instructions to deposit it and when it "clears," pay expenses and keep the rest. Weeks later, the check is returned as counterfeit.
  • Fake social media. Contacts establish an online relationship to ask for money, generally to help a stranded military officer get home, or to fix a problem they cannot solve because they are out of the country.
  • Predatory lending. Seniors are pressured into taking out inappropriate reverse mortgages or other loans.
  • Rigged annuity sales. Seniors may be pushed into using the equity from a reverse mortgage or other liquid assets to buy an expensive annuity, which may not mature until the person is well into their 90s or 100s.

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