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Know the warning signs of financial elder abuse

Financial elder abuse is a growing issue for families in Colorado. As adults age, they face a higher risk of being victims of elder abuse, including financial abuse and exploitation. Financial abuse can significantly impact your family and make it difficult for you to pay for your parent's care as they age.

Here's what you need to know about financial abuse

What is financial abuse? Elder financial abuse can come in many forms, including stealing money, forging someone's signature, forcing an elderly person to sign a legal document through undue influence, coercion or lies, fraudulent scams and telemarketing scams targeting the elderly.

Anyone can commit financial elder abuse. Family members and caregivers are the most common types of people to perpetrate this type of abuse. It is important to be aware of the risk of financial abuse, especially if your parent or loved one is elderly and requires assistance from others when it comes to their care, which includes managing their finances.

The warning signs of financial elder abuse include:

  • Account transfers or withdrawals that are not explained
  • Unpaid bills or late notices
  • Unusual bank account activity
  • New legal documents, such as powers of attorney, that seem questionable or confusing
  • Missing property or belongings
  • Elder is unable to explain new financial arrangements

What to do if you suspect financial abuse?

You may start to suspect financial exploitation if you notice on or several of these issues happening. If you do suspect financial abuse of a loved one, you should notify the authorities so they can look into the issue. You can also contact an elder law attorney to make sure your loved one's rights are protected.

Financial exploitation is a serious issue. It is not uncommon to not notice the warning signs before it's too late. However, becoming aware of the issue and the common signs of abuse can help you and your family stay safe.

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