I am pleased to announce the Community Foundation’s newest initiative: Preventing Financial Scams. Please join me for Breakfast and conversation on November 19 to share ideas on how to prevent financial scams.
Financial scams target everyone and take multiple forms.
A strange caller asking you for your Social Security number. A romantic partner controlling your finances. Caregivers exploiting vulnerable seniors. A family member making suspicious cash withdrawals. Predatory loans. Recently we have been warned in Reno about people posing as investigators claiming they need your bank account number to stop a scam.
According to a report issued by YouMail’s Robocall Index, there were 4.8 billion robocalls made in the U.S. in August 2019, with individuals getting 14.6 robocalls that month on average. While some robocalls and scams are easy to spot, plenty of scams are sophisticated and can trick even the savviest people.
A financial advisor involved with our Caregiver Support Initiative suggested the Community Foundation consider an initiative on preventing financial scams. This financial advisor witnessed different troubling incidents, including greedy family members who pressured their grandma who had dementia into signing a form she could not understand. Caring family members who intervened realized there was nothing they could do because the scammer had the proper paperwork. With their money taken, they could not afford an attorney. Unfortunately, it is easy to think of many similar stories.
While the prevalence of financial scams can appear overwhelming, we know that when our community comes together, good things happen. You may be wondering, what is the goal of the initiative? Our first goal is to convene our community to understand the issue and identify immediate action items. We do not have specific outcomes yet, and that is intentional. Rather than assume we know the answers, we start by listening and learning from the community.
The Community Foundation welcomes everyone who cares to share their ideas. We gather funders, professional advisors, nonprofits, and government agencies. Most importantly, the Community Foundation listens and learns from the people who have been impacted by the issue.
We have previously listened to youth who were homeless or aged out of foster care and people who were caring for mom, dad, or another family member. Now we invite people who have been impacted by scams to join us at the table. By engaging the people who have been affected by scams, and the people working on preventing scams, we will create solutions that will strengthen our community.
I hope you will join me for dinner and conversation on October 15.
Nick Tscheekar, Community Engagement Officer