Could bitcoin help prevent financial fraud among the elderly?

As baby boomers reach retirement age, more focus shifts to their finances and whether or not they are prepared for their golden years. Almost one-third of the baby boomers have nothing saved in retirement plans in preparation for when they leave the workforce, leaving many futures financially uncertain.

One reason for this is that this generation is more prone to falling for investment scams like pyramid and Ponzi schemes. This type of fraud can cripple retirement efforts, which is especially troublesome for folks who fall for such scams during attempts to build up their nest egg for retirement. Fortunately, progress is being made in financial technology to offer protections for this demographic in the form of Bitcoin and other blockchain applications.

A Growing Currency

Bitcoin is poised to become a new global currency in the coming years due to the fact that over 50% of Bitcoin users are based outside the U.S., while China and the E.U. are more than willing to usher in a new global currency to take on the U.S. dollar. The benefits of a decentralized currency like Bitcoin is that transactions made with it are tax-free, bitcoins are easily transferred across the globe, and banks cannot use a person’s saved bitcoins for their own investments. This is good news for older generations worried about fraud, as this decentralized currency is good for removing intermediaries that could potentially take advantage of older generations.

However, even as finances move towards a technologically driven future, fraudsters will continue to do their best to find ways to take advantage. As mobile banking and online sales continue to grow in popularity, there will be a decline in POS fraud and a rise in fraud related to the digital transactions. Banks will have to stay one step ahead of fraudsters in the coming years, ensuring that their online banking applications are incredibly secure in order to maintain dominance in the financial sector over alternatives like Bitcoin.

If banks fail to stay on top of financial security, they might lose the trust of baby boomers, opening up opportunities for cryptocurrency and blockchain to completely disrupt the banking industry. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain applications like Bitcoin might eventually outright replace many of the functions the banks are now integral to. For instance, trade finance, payments and settlements, and even loans and lines of credit might soon be offered outside of the banking institutions we know today due to these new financial technologies.

Aging Adults Are at Risk of Financial Abuse

Many seniors can be defrauded even without engaging in fraudulent investment opportunities, falling prey to scams that target the elderly, or even simply having their online banking information compromised. Retirement-aged adults that have found themselves in nursing homes are often the target of financial abuse through malicious individuals in the nursing home itself.

Employees can cash or deposit checks without the knowledge or permission of the individual, forge signatures on financial documents if they are unable to coerce the person into signing themselves, or even engage in outright identity theft. This type of financial fraud is far more common than anyone would like, and a decentralized currency that cannot be easily accessed through traditional banking such as Bitcoin can provide a level of protection for those in these situations.

Even if an elderly individual is receiving care at home from a trustworthy geriatric nurse practitioner, they may still be at risk of finding themselves financially defrauded. Telephone scammers or even family members may take advantage of older individuals, operating under the assumption that they must have money squirreled away somewhere. The simple fact is that older Americans are at a higher risk of being defrauded or financially abused in general.

While seniors should educate themselves on the best way to detect and avoid fraud, such as by ensuring that all transactions conducted online are through legitimate websites and every step is taken to ensure data security on mobile apps, switching a good amount of their savings into Bitcoin is a solid way to prevent fraud from occurring. While Bitcoin can be seen as a volatile currency, it has proven itself over the years to be a solid and secure investment. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies may very well be one of the safer ways anyone, especially the elderly, can save their hard-earned money.

Bitcoin Is the Sensible Solution

Due to an epidemic of attacks using bots, banks are predicted to fall prey to many high-profile data breaches in the coming years. However, Bitcoin can offer up a solution to these problems through its innate safety due to its decentralized status and security measures such as random number generation, hashing, and signatures.

By 2020, 77% of fintech institutions are expected to adopt blockchain applications which will act as a digital ledger for Bitcoin transactions. This is because blockchain and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are extremely attractive because they offer up transparent safety and security when it comes to transactions. The benefits of Bitcoin in preventing fraud for the elderly now will only become more pronounced in the years ahead.

Fintech institutions are beginning to rely more heavily on blockchain applications due to the rising popularity of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies across the board. What was once considered a niche currency reserved for the tech-savvy has become something that literally anyone can partake in. Cryptocurrency like Bitcoin can improve efficiency in financial institutions while simultaneously resolving identity theft issues and thus fraud for the financially at-risk populations in the U.S., namely those of retirement age.

Times are quickly changing, and while adopting Bitcoin as a primary currency can seem a bit scary — especially to those who are already wary of advanced technology — it is a wise decision. Bitcoin is quickly becoming a fully fledged and internationally accepted form of currency, and its inherent safety should be appealing to those that are at risk of financial fraud. While fraud will always be a problem, Bitcoin adds a level of protection that should not be ignored.