November is National Caregiver Month, a time to raise awareness about caregiving and to educate, support and encourage family caregivers. According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), an estimated 3.4 million family caregivers in Texas provide care for the elderly and people with disabilities. BBB celebrates family members who provide ongoing support to loved ones and protect their physical and financial well-being.

Not only do caregivers provide for the physical needs of their loved ones, they often have to monitor their financial needs as well. Aging scams generate billions of dollars for criminals every year.

BBB provides the following tips for caregivers to help them care for their loved ones:

Warning signs that financial fraud can happen

• Frequent spam and spam calls. Incoming spam (illegitimate raffle offers, etc.) or receiving frequent calls from people offering valuable rewards or asking for charitable donations are signs that fraud could easily occur, or may have already occurred. place.

• Unknown payments are made. Checks issued or payments made to unknown or out-of-state businesses should be a wake-up call.

• Act in secrecy about phone calls or messages. When a person is hiding or acting secretly about phone calls and messages, it can be a sign that they have hired a scammer.

• Sudden problems paying bills or buying food and other necessities. A sudden lack of funds could mean that an individual’s money is being drained in some form of scam. The cause must be sought to rule out any fraud.

Tips to help your loved one

• Familiarize yourself with common scams targeting seniors. Knowing the most common tactics used to target seniors can help you identify scams more easily.

• Emphasize the criminal nature of telemarketing and email fraud. Help your loved one learn to identify them and help them understand that these tactics are illegal. By participating, they may be drawn into criminal activity without knowing it.

• Encourage the person to ignore phone calls and messages that seem suspicious. Don’t reply to emails or text messages they don’t know about, and don’t click on any links they contain.

• Have a calm discussion about securing accounts and controlling finances. Helping seniors monitor their finances can be a great way to prevent scams and identify them if they have happened.

• Help the person change their phone number. If the incessant calls continue, it may be helpful to change the person’s phone number. Registering the number with the do not call list is a great first step, although scammers will not necessarily follow the laws of the do not call list. If the dangerous calls continue, it may be better to change the phone number.

• Take care. Taking care of each other is not an easy task. Studies show that up to 70 percent of family caregivers suffer from depression or anxiety. Many develop chronic health problems at nearly twice the non-caregiver rate. Remember to rejuvenate yourself by taking time for yourself, eating healthy and exercising. Consider respite care for a few extended breaks needed. The Take Time Texas site has several resources to help caregivers get the rest they need.

For more tips on how to be an informed consumer, visit bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, call BBB at 903-581-5704 or report it through BBB ScamTracker.

About BBB: BBB is a non-profit, business-backed organization that sets and maintains high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB consumer services are free. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB company profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on matters affecting market confidence. Visit bbb.org for more information. BBB Serving Central East Texas was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties in eastern Texas.