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Falling victim to fraud or having your assets stolen is particularly hard on the retired. How would you manage if you suddenly lost all of the funds you worked most of your life to accrue? With those savings gone, how would you ever be able to replace them? With little time to restore your finances, it is vital that you take special care of the assets and savings you have made for your retirement years.

Be careful who you trust with your money

The Cantonese have a saying: "Your own children are not as good as your own money". While sad, its meaning can be a depressing reality for many elderly people, with theft a common problem. All too often, it is the people close to you - friends, carers and even spouses, partners, children or other family members - who might con you out of your money.

There are certain signs that all may not be well with your finances. Take note of the following list and seek immediate help if you are worried.

  • Money from your joint account is withdrawn without your approval.
  • Some of your property is sold without your approval and you never received any payments.
  • Money or other valuables disappear from your home.
  • You suspect your signature has been forged or your seal has been used without your consent.
  • You believe your will has been changed by someone else.
  • Your property or other assets are being used without your permission.
  • You have been threatened or bullied into handing over money or property.

If you are worried that people close to you are misusing your finances, seek help immediately. This may be difficult if the situation involves family members and friends, who may be caring for you in your later years. If you - or any of your friends - are in this situation, you have no choice but to take action, putting aside worries about family scandals.

Wise ways to look after your savings

Your savings are there to support you through your retirement years and you need to take good care of them. With this in mind, there are a few things you should consider:

Manage your own money

Do not rely on other people to take care of your finances, unless you are physically or mentally unable to handle such responsibility. If you are worried that your mind may no longer be up to it, you can entrust your wealth to another responsible person by giving them the Power of Attorney or through other similar legal solutions.

Don't be greedy

Many conmen use the promise of big profits as a way of getting people to invest. If you are greedy, scammers will find you an easy target.

Look out for scams

Be vigilant and aware of tricks and cons that other elderly people have fallen for.

Protect your personal information

Never give out details - including passwords and PIN numbers - of your bank accounts, identity cards, ATM cards or credit cards to anyone, no matter who they claim to be.

Think twice before you act

Be very careful when considering financial offers or making new investments. Always try and discuss it with someone you trust before you commit to anything.

Get help

If you think you have been tricked or believe you are the victim of theft, seek help from the police or a social worker immediately.