Financial exploitation is a form of abuse that occurs often against the elderly or disabled. Vulnerable people can be targets for financial exploitation, which is why it is important to understand how this occurs and take steps to prevent it.
If you have an elderly family member who may be at risk for financial abuse, learn some of the basic facts about this issue and take steps to protect your family member from becoming a victim. There are warning signs of financial abuse that can tip you off, so you can take steps to prevent it or stop it if it is already taking place.
1. Strangers often use scams
When strangers perpetrate financial abuse, the tactic they often use is in the form of a planned-out scam or fraud. Some examples of these include false claims of having won a contest or a sweepstakes but needing to send money to cover administrative expenses or taxes. In other cases, someone may impersonate an employee or official from a legitimate company, such as a utility company, to gain access to the home in order to steal.
2. Family members are frequent perpetrators
A wide range of people may commit financial abuse, from caregivers to financial professionals. However, elder financial exploitation occurs frequently with family members. In fact, the National Adult Protective Services Association reported that a full 90 percent of elder financial exploitation takes place at the hands of family members or trusted others.
3. Conservatorships can provide protection
A legal tool that can provide protection for your elderly family member is a conservatorship. A conservatorship is when a judge appoints a conservator to handle the financial affairs of someone who is unable to adequately do so for themselves, due to incapacitation or old age. Planning ahead for a conservatorship can help protect your family member from the risks of financial abuse.