Tag: technology

How to Protect Yourself From Sweetheart Scams This February

February can be an emotional month for some Older Americans. The Valentine’s Day holiday can create feelings of loneliness and isolation, which unfortunately leaves some seniors more vulnerable to scams. One such scam, the Sweetheart Scam, tends to increase in frequency during this time. This type of scam occurs when a scammer forms a relationship with a senior solely for the purpose of extorting them from money. This relationship is more commonly formed online, and the senior typically never meets their romantic interest. This often leaves the senior even more vulnerable and hurt. We know you care about protecting the senior you love both now and in the future. To help you do this, let us share a few ways to help your senior loved one avoid falling victim to Sweetheart Scams.

First, it is important that your senior loved one understands what a Sweetheart Scam is and the common elements of this type of scam and scams in general. This will hopefully help your loved one be able to identify if he or she is being targeted. Being a victim of a scam can be an emotional and embarrassing ordeal for your loved one. Encouraging your loved one to talk to someone they trust, whether that be a close friend or family member, if they have suspicions about a person they are involved with can help prevent the senior you love from becoming a victim.

We encourage you to remind your loved one that there should never be a valid reason that a romantic interest should need access to their bank information or Social Security Number. Often, the criminals involved in these scams will ask for money multiple times. If the senior sends money, it is likely that the criminal will continue to ask. Unfortunately, we often see that the romantic interest will disappear once they have received the money they asked for or the senior begins to get suspicious. This typically leaves the senior hurt, vulnerable, and even more lonely than before they were targeted by the scam. It is also important to remember that your senior loved one may experience long-lasting effects from the scam, particularly if the criminal received your loved one’s Social Security Number. Lastly, encourage your loved one to always be skeptical of people they meet online, until they are fully able to verify their identify and intentions.

Above all, one of the most effective ways to help protect your senior loved one from scams is by encouraging them to create a comprehensive Florida estate plan. If you have questions or are ready to help create a plan for your senior loved one, do not wait to contact our office.

The importance of adding your digital assets to your estate plan

Every 60 seconds there are millions of Facebook posts, tweets, and Google searches. Additionally, more than three million emails are sent out every second. Our lives are becoming more and more virtual. If you have an email address, a Facebook account, or bank online, then you have an online presence and valuable digital assets. Many aspects of our lives are digital and controlling these assets in the event of our incapacity or death raises new issues never experienced before. “If you become incapacitated, “grow seriously ill or pass away, “Chapter 740 of the Florida Statutes outlines “how your agents can access your digital records, “and grants custodians authorization to release such assets. “Without proper planning, your loved ones “may have trouble tracking down and accessing “your online accounts that may have sentimental, “practical, or monetary value,” says Anne Desormier-Cartwright of Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA.

You should consider updating your estate planning documents and seek to broaden the powers to your fiduciaries and appoint a separate, tech-friendly person to manage your digital assets in the event of your incapacity or death. You may also want to consider using tools offered by Google, Facebook, and others, to designate a representative for your digital assets on these sites. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service, but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.