Financial Elder Abuse

It is estimated that five million seniors fall victim to financial abuse each year.

Getting a more precise picture of the extent of the problem is difficult because many seniors are unaware that the financial abuse is taking place, while others are unwilling to report it out of embarrassment or fear for their safety. What is financial abuse (also known as material exploitation)? It is defined as the illegal or improper use of an elderly person’s funds, property, or assets. Examples of this type of abuse include, but are not limited to:

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  • Cashing an elderly person’s checks without authorization or permission
  • Forging an older person’s signature
  • Misuse or theft of an older person’s money or possessions
  • Deceiving or coercing an older person into signing any document (such as a contract, will, title, etc.)
  • The improper use of conservatorship or power of attorney

Maybe you suspect that an elderly family member or loved one is being subjected to some form of financial abuse but are not sure. Here are a few signs to look for:

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  • Sudden changes in bank account or banking practice, particularly unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money when the older person is accompanied by another individual
  • Additional names being included on an elder’s bank signature card
  • Unauthorized withdrawal of the elder’s funds using the elder’s ATM card
  • Sudden changes to a will, trust, power of attorney, or other financial document
  • Disappearance of funds or valuable possessions that the elder person can’t, or won’t, explain
  • The elder person is receiving substandard care or accumulating unpaid bills even though adequate financial resources are available

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  • Discovery of a forged signature for financial transactions or the titles of the elder person’s possessions
  • Sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives who claim to have rights to the elder person’s affairs and possessions
  • Sudden transfer of assets to a family member or someone outside the family that the elder person can’t explain
  • Provision of services to an elder person that do not seem to be necessary

If you suspect a loved one or someone you know is a victim to Financial Elder Abusecontact us immediately to help evaluate the facts and ensure their safety and well being.

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