Elderly adults are a prime target for financial exploitation. This exploitation can be perpetrated by caregivers and family members as well as other outside parties. While not all elders are victims of financial abuse, it is important to be aware of the signs of elder financial abuse in order to prevent it from happening to you or a loved one.
Elder Financial Abuse
Financial abuse of elders happens when their money or property is used in an unauthorized way. Elder financial abuse can happen to both the rich and the poor. Because many elders are frail in their physical or mental states he may not know what is happening or may be too scared to approach the situation.
Exploitation by Caregivers
Exploitation by caregivers happens more often than other forms of elder financial abuse. This is because caregivers often have unlimited access to an elderly adults' funds and property as they care for them. You may notice caregiver exploitation if a caregiver wrongly uses an elderly adult's cash, bank accounts, checks, income or personal items. Other ways that caregivers might financially exploit elderly adults is via identity theft or forged signatures. In addition, if you notice that a caregiver is not providing for the personal needs of an elder, financial abuse may be occurring.
Exploitation by Outside Parties
Elderly adults are a prime target for exploitation by outside parties. Many scam artists prey on the frailness of elderly adults through fake charities, investment fraud or jackpot prizes where elderly adults are required to pay money in order to claim a prize. It is also important to be aware of any new acquaintances that move in with your loved one after knowing them for only a short amount of time. While it may be possible that the relationship is genuine, it is critical to be aware of your loved one's financial circumstances at all times.
Reporting Elder Abuse
Any time you suspect that the financial abuse of an elderly adult is occurring,report it. Many states have toll-free elder abuse hotlines. If you are not sure where to report abuse, talk to a trusted friend or family doctor.
The financial exploitation of elderly adults happens daily. If you suspect that financial abuse is happening to someone that you love, don't let it continue. Watch for the particular signs of abuse and, when appropriate, report abuse to the proper authorities.
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