Elder Abuse - Help Protect Yourself & Loved Ones

According to the National Council on Aging, financial scams targeting seniors have become so prevalent that they are considered the crime of the 21st century. They estimate $2.9 billion - $36.5 billion is lost annually, which is why we are so passionate about educating the community and helping to reduce the instances of local elder abuse. By giving local residents the tools and information to protect themselves from these scams, we are empowering more people in the community to stand up to elder abuse.

Montecito Bank & Trust developed an award-winning prevention program, designed to prevent Senior Abuse and Financial Exploitation (SAFE). This program, comprised of internal training, in-branch workshops, Fraud Defense brochures and social media tips, provides a dose of knowledge, safety and comfort to the local communities.

  • 2016 National Community Commitment Award, from the American Bankers Association Foundation

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Common COVID-19 Scams

(they’re new twists on existing scams!)
Expedited Stimulus Checks Scam

A phone caller asks for your name, address, SSN, bank routing number and account to directly deposit a stimulus check. The government will never call and ask for this information!

Fake Miracle Cures

Pushy sales calls claiming treatments or products that will diagnose or cure COVID-19. These are counterfeit products, if they even exist at all. Don’t believe these claims and call your medical provider if you have questions.

Contact Testing Tracers

An email claims you’ve been exposed to the Coronavirus by a family member or work associate. The link asks for personal information or installs malware on your device. Check the "Sent From" email address – do you recognize it? Is it spelled correctly? Is it missing characters? Delete these emails immediately, do not reply. And for added comfort, call the family member or work associate and ask them directly if they have tested positive for COVID-19.

Charity Scams

These scams appeal to your emotion and sense of urgency, especially as so many organizations and communities are experiencing financial hardship. Do your research first – www.charitywatch.org or www.charitynavigator.org.

Medicare Scams

They claim to offer free COVID-19 testing or state that your Medicare benefits are at jeopardy unless you take a test in return for your SSN and Medicare number. No healthcare provider will ask you to provide this information over the phone or email.

Tech Support Scams

With more people working at home, there has been an increase in emails and pop-up messages that claim your device is need of repair or has a virus. They will request payment by credit card or gift card in advance of performing the repair, but they will not fix anything and instead they will install malware or steal your card info and use it to fraudulently purchase things online. Never provide your credit card info to these scam pop-ups, emails, or phone calls. No legitimate service or government entity will request payment via gift card.

Grandparent Scams

This is a twist on the traditional grandparent scam where the scammer claims to be a family member that has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and needs you to send money quickly. Resist the urge to act immediately, ask questions that a stranger would not know the answer to and contact other family members to verify the claim. Do not send money via wire or gift card.

Common Scams

Fundraising & Charity Scams

Have you been asked to donate to a charity by wiring money, buying a prepaid debit card or paying a courier? Consider checking out the charity online first at www.charitywatch.org or www.charitynavigator.org.

Imposter / Grandparent Scams

Have you been asked to wire or send money to someone who contacted you via email or telephone? Have they asked for the money to be sent via green dot MoneyPak®, Money Gram, or Western Union? The request might seem to come from law enforcement, the IRS or another government official threatening legal action, but no government agency will ever ask you to wire money. The request might also seem to be coming from someone you know – your grandchild, relative or friend.

Email Requests for Money

Have you been asked to wire, send or ship money to a large U.S. city or overseas (such as Canada, Asia or Nigeria) to someone who asks you via email? Be suspicious of email requests pressuring you to take action quickly, even if it appears to be coming from a friend or family member. It’s possible their email has been hacked and you’re sending money to a crook.

Sweepstakes and Lotteries

Have you recently been informed that you won a sweepstakes or a lottery that you don’t remember entering, and were asked to wire money to collect the prize? Never pay to claim a prize for a contest you didn’t enter!