Elder Financial Abuse Protection
As you and your loved ones age, here are some steps you can take to protect them against elder financial fraud:
- Know the Signs: Is your loved one suddenly having a hard time with their day-to-day needs? Are they writing uncharacteristically large checks to charities or care organizations? Have they signed away properties or signed a power of attorney without fully understanding the implications? Often, the signs of elder abuse are as simple as noticing changes in their behavior.
- Know When to Step In: Deteriorating cognitive abilities are one of the reasons that the elderly make such common fraud targets. If you notice your loved ones becoming more forgetful, struggling with day-to-day and losing track of their finances, it may be time to step into more of a caregiver role in order to protect their interests.
- Survey Their Accounts: Make a list of all the different places that they keeps their money and look for any suspicious activity or changes in their spending patterns. Investigate any transactions that they either cannot remember or seem out of place for their lifestyle.
- Know Their Friends: “Sweetheart” scams, in which an individual ingratiates themselves to an elderly person in order to gain access to their finances and can be particularly damaging to a victim’s life savings. Keep in touch with your older loved ones and ask about any new friends who suddenly pop up.
- Stay Informed: Knowledge is power, and if you are concerned about the financial well being about an elderly relative, often the best step to take is simply to talk to them about it. Who manages their money on a day-to-day basis? Are their bills being paid on time? Are they aware of everything that is going on with their money?