True Link Financial Aims to Fight Senior Credit Scams


True Link Financial, which is launching today, is aimed at preventing scams that target vulnerable seniors, who lose billions of dollars annually through hidden credit charges, misleading marketing and outright fraud.

The company was inspired by co-founder and CEO Kai Stinchcombe’s grandmother, who had written checks to dozens of organizations posing as well-known charities every month, losing up to $100,000 in the last eight years.

“The truth is, there aren’t organizations actively trying to solve this problem,” said Claire McDonnell, True Link Financial’s chief product officer and co-founder. “Our mission is preserve seniors’ ability to live a full life, while making sure they’re not getting scammed.”

The card and fraud blocker are set up online by a verified, trusted family member. When the senior wants to pay for something, he or she can use the True Link card, which is keyed to their particular needs. Transactions are matched against characteristics of scams targeting the elderly, and are blocked if they are suspicious. If the card number is given to a dishonest telemarketer or charged for more than a predetermined amount, the card declines payment and the family member receives a text message or email alert.

McDonnell said the product gives families an option between taking away an elderly family member’s cards or letting them go unprotected.

Before True Link, Stinchcombe headed the credit risk and fraud detection department at online lender LendUp. He also co-founded Aktana, a company building analytic software for corporate sales teams. McDonnell was co-founder of Awardly, a nutrition and health startup, and was a management consultant at the Bridgespan Group.

Future plans involve allowing already existing cards, like one’s Wells Fargo or Bank of America cards, to be protected with True Link Financial. The card currently runs as a debit card.

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