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The Globe and Mail

In Pictures: How to protect yourself from elder financial abuse

The Globe and Mail's personal finance columnist Rob Carrick has some advice for seniors: the Bank of Grandma and Grandpa needs to toughen up. Here, the U.S.-based insurer MetLife offers these tips for avoiding financial abuse.

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Stay organized
Open and send your own mail, have your government benefits direct deposited into your bank account, sign your own cheques and don’t provide personal information over the telephone. Make sure important legal documents (wills, trusts and power of attorney) are kept in a secure location. They should be reviewed annually to reflect your current circumstances and wishes.

Thinstock

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Stay alert
Do not sign documents without having someone you trust review them; be involved in all decisions about your finances; do not leave items of value out in the open. Check your monthly credit card and bank statements and bills for accuracy.

Getty Images / Hemera

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Stay informed
Consult a lawyer about your estate plans, including power of attorney and will.

Getty Images / Hemera

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Stay active and engaged
Socializing is important − isolation can lead to loneliness and depression, making seniors vulnerable to exploitation. But MetLife also reminds that elder financial abuse may be perpetrated by a caregiver or family member: “If you feel someone is trying to intimidate you or isolate you from your family and friends, contact your family or local police.”

Mike Blake/Reuters

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