As one of the most vulnerable groups in society, seniors are unfortunately prone to becoming victims of financial abuse. Sadly, it is usually the very people they entrust with their affairs and care that are exploiting them. A staggering 90% of financial abusers are the family members or another trusted individual of the victim.
Financial exploitation of the elderly can take many different forms, from investment scams and lottery schemes to identity left or forged checks. However, elder fraud cases are complex and hard to prove – especially since a senior may not even discover the exploitation until several bills or payments are overdue.
If you have concerns about your elder loved one getting taken advantage of, it’s essential to know what the warnings signs of financial fraud may look like. Here are some telltale red flags of financial elder abuse to watch for:
If your senior lives alone or doesn’t have many relatives or friends to check in regularly, it can be all too easy for scammers to step in and use the elder for financial gain. Many fraudsters will even exploit an older person’s loneliness and lack of connections to accomplish their wrongdoings. Keep an eye out for any new relationships your loved one makes that may seem suspicious.
While seniors with mental decline are frequent targets of financial abuse, physical fragility can also make them vulnerable. When an elder lacks physical strength or mobility to accomplish everyday tasks, they often must rely on service providers for help. Predators use the opportunity to overcharge seniors or fabricate nonexistent issues for a series of payments. If possible, a trusted person should always be present with an elder when signing a contract or hiring help to decrease fraud.
Lack of financial awareness
An elder who was previously on top of their finances but suddenly has unexplained charges or expenses can be another red flag. While a lack of recall about large purchases or withdrawals from their bank account may be declining mental capacity, it could also indicate one of their caretakers are abusing them. Monitor your senior’s finances closely and frequently to safeguard their assets.
The financial exploitation of seniors is alarmingly prevalent. If you suspect someone may be taking advantage of your loved one, it’s critical to alert the authorities and confront the abuser immediately. By knowing what to look for, you can ensure your older loved one’s assets remain safe.