Despite hearing countless stories about nursing home abuse and neglect, one of the greatest threats to our senior citizens is that of financial exploitation and abuse. Unlike physical abuse, financial exploitation does not leave immediate and noticeable injury and can go on for a substantially long time before being noticed. Understanding who is at risk and how it happens can help senior citizens, and their family members identify potential and occurring financial exploitation.
Senior citizen financial abuse can come in many forms. Con artists, scamming telemarketers, identity thieves and abusive caretakers can all pose very real threats to an individual’s financial security. Unfortunately, while these sources of fraud can cause very real financial damage, most elder abuse is done at home and at the hands of family members. This type of financial exploitation usually comes by way of a family member conning a senior citizen into designating them power of attorney in an attempt to gain access to their finances.
Individuals looking to protect their loved ones from this type of financial exploitation should be aware of the most common signs of this type of abuse. Seniors with diminishing mental capacity or health are at highest risk of falling victim to financial exploitation. Family members may notice unusual bank activity and transactions that their loved one cannot explain or understand. They may notice someone taking a new and intense interest in the loved one’s activities and assets, and may hear about someone trying to make a loved one amend their estate plan or will. These events may all be signs that financial abuse is occurring.
Safeguarding your loved one from financial exploitation may seem like a very difficult challenge. However, working with an experienced elder law attorney can help family members protect their loved ones from this type of financial abuse.