Elder Financial Abuse Is the illegal or unethical exploitation and/or use of an elder’s funds, property, or other assets. Financial elder abuse includes: misuse an elder’s personal checks, credit cards, or accounts; stealing cash, income checks, or household goods; forging the elder’s signature; engaging in identity theft. Typical frauds that target elders include: announcements of a “prize” that the elderly person has won but must pay money to claim; phony charities; investment schemes.
Unfortunately, financial abuse is often carried out by those closest to and trusted by the elderly, such as children, and primary caretakers. Often the abuser believes they are entitled to the money and believe themselves to be fully justified in their actions.
Signs of financial abuse include:
- Significant withdrawals from the elder’s accounts
- Sudden changes in the elder’s financial condition
- Items or cash missing from the senior’s household
- Suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney, titles, and policies
- Addition of names to the senior’s signature card
- Unpaid bills or lack of medical care, although the elder has enough money to pay for them
- Financial activity the senior couldn’t have done, such as an ATM withdrawal when the account holder is bedridden
- Unnecessary services, goods, or subscriptions