Better Business Bureau: Protecting loved ones with Alzheimer’s while online or on the phone

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 4:08 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2023 at 7:46 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - It’s Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and the Better Business Bureau has tips on how you and your loved ones with memory illnesses can stay safe online and over the phone.

Pamela Hernandez with the Better Business Bureau says it’s essential to take care with what you’re doing online so you don’t fall victim to people with bad intentions.

“Well, when folks are suffering from early Alzheimer’s or dementia, it obviously affects memory, but it also impacts cognitive behaviors and thinking, and one of the early signs can be difficulty in mind in managing finances,” said Hernandez.

Here are a few tips for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia to follow:

1. Don’t give out personal information. Reputable businesses and charities won’t require your social security number or Medicaid ID.

2. Pay and donate to familiar sources. It may not be reputable if someone unfamiliar is asking you for payments. Always check caller ID on your phone. If you don’t know the number, don’t pick up. They should leave a voicemail. Don’t click unfamiliar links in emails.

3. Be aware of urgent requests. If someone is pushing you into paying or donating for something now, they may not be reputable. Reputable businesses and charities will give you time to think.

It’s also important to have conversations with those you trust to ensure your finances are in order.

“Have a conversation about the finances now and how you can help support them, who trusted advisors are, and how you can put things into place to make sure that everything is running smoothly,” said Hernandez.

Caregivers for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia should also be on the lookout. Here are some tips for caregivers to follow:

  • 1. Watch for warning signs such as extra junk or spam calls or emails, unfamiliar payments, and acting secretive about phone calls or payments. That could be a sign something bigger is going on.
  • 2. Talk to your loved one. Make sure they’re prepared to know how to be safe online and over the phone by not giving out information and ignoring suspicious calls and emails.
  • 3. Reduce solicitations. Add your loved one to the No-Call, No-Mail list to prevent them from getting unwanted junk mail and calls.
  • 4. Discuss financial security. Check your loved one’s finances and ensure someone trusted is in charge of them.

According to Hernandez, these tips are crucial to ensure your loved one is safe.

“The individual may not know what they’ve done. It’s affecting their memory. They not may not remember giving. They may not be aware that this is unusual for them. So it’s important to pick up on those signs, particularly because it can be an early sign,” said Hernandez.

For more tips from the Better Business Bureau, you can visit here.

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