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14 Tips for Stopping Elder Financial Abuse in its Tracks

            Honolulu, HI – Every year, millions of seniors fall victim to financial fraud. Studies show elder financial abuse costs seniors approximately $2.9 billion each year. In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, Hawaii National Bank is urging older customers and their trusted caregivers to safeguard all personal information and stay alert to the common signs of financial abuse.

 

Hawaii National Bank is offering the following tips:

  • Plan ahead to protect your assets and to ensure your wishes are followed.  Talk to someone at your financial institution, an attorney, or financial advisor about the best options for you.
  • Carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters.
  • Lock up your checkbook, account statements and other sensitive information when others will be in your home.
  • Never give personal information, including Social Security Number, account number or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
  • Never pay a fee or taxes to collect sweepstakes or lottery “winnings.”
  • Never rush into a financial decision.  Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion. 
  • Consult with a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.
  • Get to know your banker and build a relationship with the people who handle your finances. They can look out for any suspicious activity related to your account.
  • Check references and credentials before hiring anyone. Don’t allow workers to have access to information about your finances.
  • Pay with checks and credit cards instead of cash to keep a paper trail.
  • You have the right not to be threatened or intimidated. If you think someone close to you is trying to take control of your finances, call your local Adult Protective Services or tell someone at your bank.

 

If you believe you are a victim of financial abuse, be sure to:

  • Talk to a trusted family member who has your best interests at heart, or to your clergy.
  • Talk to your attorney, doctor or an officer at your bank.
  • Contact Adult Protective Services in your state or your local police for help.


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.

Hawaii National Bank is a community bank providing highly personalized service through 13 branches on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii. For more than 50 years the bank has specialized in serving individual account holders and locally owned, closely held businesses. Learn more at www.HawaiiNational.com.

           

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Every year, millions of people fall victim to cybercrime. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, in 2014, consumers lost more than $800 million from scams initiated through the web. In recognition of Internet Safety Month in June, we are highlighting seven tips to help keep you protected from online fraud.

We recommend the following tips to keep you safe online:

  • Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date.  Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.
  • Set strong passwords. A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent e-mails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with. 
  • Forward phishing e-mails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at spam@uce.gov – and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the e-mail. 
  • Keep personal information personal. Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc.  Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.
  • Secure your Internet connection. Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it.
  • Shop safely. Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page. Hawaii National Bank uses secure technology throughout its website and mobile apps.
  • Read the site’s privacy policies. Privacy policies tell you how the site protects the personal information it collects. If you don’t see or understand a site’s privacy policy, consider doing business elsewhere.

 

At Hawaii National Bank, we take the security of your information seriously. We will never call or e-mail you requesting personal information such as account numbers or passwords. If you suspect you have been a victim of online fraud, please contact us immediately at (808) 528-7800.

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Hawaii National Bank Celebrates American Housing Month with Practical Advice for ‘Aging in Place’

 

The vast majority of older Americans want to remain in their homes as they grow older, also known as aging in place. Hawaii National Bank is offering the following tips for those considering this option:

 

Take a hard look at your finances. Arrange a meeting with a trusted family member or friend and a banker. It’s critical to understand your financial resources, how long they’ll last and what housing options are the most cost effective for you. Be sure to consider all costs associated with aging in place, including:

  • Home modifications
  • Transportation to medical appointments, shopping and other errands
  • In home caregiver for house upkeep and medical purposes

 

Consider a reverse mortgage. Though not for everyone, a reverse mortgage loan can provide monthly cash payments based on your home’s equity. 

  • Shop around. Be sure to check with multiple lenders. You can use sites like www.reversemortage.org, sponsored by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, to find lenders in your area.
  • Make sure to read all loan documents carefully. There are a number of actions that could cause the loan to become due.
  • For more information on reverse mortgages, visit aba.com/consumers. 

 

Assess your home and determine what modifications are necessary. While staying in your home is preferable for many, there are often design changes that must be made to ensure it’s also safe and comfortable.

  • Make sure there is at least one step-free entrance to your home.
  • Update lighting inside and outside of the house so that all walkways and stairs are well lit. Clear pathways throughout house and firmly secure all carpets to the floor to prevent tripping.
  • If a bedroom and bathroom does not or cannot exist on the first floor, consider installing an elevator or chairlift. At a minimum, make sure you have handrails on both sides of your stairs.
  • Install grab bars in the bathtub, shower, or near the toilet.

 

Make security a priority. Older Americans are often targets for scams and other criminal behavior. Be cautious about who you allow in your home and disclose sensitive information to.

  • Install up to date and easy to use locks. Make sure your front door has a peep hole or a security monitor so you can see who is outside. 
  • Consult someone you trust when hiring a contractor, financial advisor, etc.

 

Look into community resources. If mobility is limited, look in to services offered in your area. Many communities have established non-profit programs that offer transportation and food delivery to assist older Americans at a reasonable cost. 

 

Be prepared for possible emergencies.

  • Keep a list of all emergency contacts on your refrigerator or by a phone.
  • Consider a Personal Emergency Response System. Transmitters can be worn as a bracelet or around your neck and require the simple push of a button to send a signal to a call center.
  • Have your address number visible from the street so emergency responders can easily identify your home.

 

Reevaluate every six months to make sure all needs are being met. As you age, your needs inevitably change. Take time twice a year, or as needed, to sit down with your trusted family or friend and make sure your current living situation is still the right one. 


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Now that you’re settling in to your new home, there are some important things you need to consider. Hawaii National Bank recommends the following tips.

 

1. Create a budget.

The key to a good budget is including as much information as you can, so that you can adequately prepare and plan. It's important to keep accurate records of your spending so you can spot places to save money and know how much you can reasonably spend. The American Bankers Association’s budgeting worksheet (also available in Spanish) will help you document and categorize your expenses.

 

2. Protect your property.

Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, you need insurance to protect your belongings. Check with your local insurance agent, you might be able to get a discount if you have things like dead bolt locks, an alarm system, or smoke detectors, or if you already have a policy with that company, like car insurance. Also, find out if you’re in a flood zone. If you’re concerned about flooding, you will need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy. Learn more at floodsmart.gov.

 

3. Protect your safety.

Make sure all of the locks on your doors and windows work properly. If it makes you more comfortable, look into having an alarm system installed. Also, check your fire and carbon monoxide alarms once a month to be sure they’re working. If you have a dryer, clean the lint from the entire system, from the dryer to the exterior vent cap. Lint is extremely flammable and poses a fire risk.

 

4. Take your tax deductions.

Be sure you know all the tax deductions associated with your move and new home. If you use a portion of your home for business purposes or moved for a new job, you may be able to take deductions. Homeowners can deduct mortgage interest, property taxes and loans for home improvements.

 

5. Make your house – or apartment – your home.

Decorating your space will make it more comfortable and personal. If you’re a tenant, check with your landlord before making major changes like painting the walls or changing the appliances. Renters should take photos of the rental space before moving in to document the existing condition and insist on a final walk-through with the landlord. If you own your home, be smart about where you invest your money on improvements to ensure you’re building equity in your home. For example, updates in the kitchen and bathroom usually provide the best return on investment.

 

6. Save up for a rainy day.

Although life may be sunny now, it’s a good idea to create a rainy day fund. The fund should have at least three to six months of living expenses in case you or someone in your household loses a job or becomes ill and unable to work.

 

For more information, visit aba.com/consumers

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Anytime is the right time to begin teaching children about money, and the American Bankers Association has tips that can help parents teach about money at home.

  • Talk openly about money with your kids. Communicate your values and experiences with money. Encourage them to ask you questions, and be prepared to answer them – even the tough ones.
  • Explain the difference between needs and wants, the value in saving and budgeting and the consequences of not doing so.
  • Set up a chore chart and give your children an allowance for completing their tasks. Require them to save at least a small portion each week. The three jars method, one for spending, one for saving and one for charitable contributions is a good way to impart a sense of responsibility.
  • Open up a savings account at your local bank for your children and take them with you to make deposits, so children can learn how to be hands-on in their money management.
  • Be an example of a responsible money manager by paying bills on time, being a conscious spender and an active saver. Children tend to emulate their parents' personal finance habits.
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