Financial abuse is prevalent among the elderly population, and senior adults with cognitive or physical impairments that make them dependent upon others are frequently targeted by scammers who take advantage of their trust. Unfortunately, this type of abuse can take many different forms which can make it hard to detect until an elderly person has begun to experience serious financial problems.
As a leading provider of senior care in Columbus, we believe educating seniors and their families about elder financial abuse is the best way to help prevent it from happening. Here is what every family member and caregiver should know about identifying, preventing and reporting suspected financial abuse of an elder.
Types of Financial Abuse
Although there are many different ways in which an elder can be financially abused, the majority of cases will fall into one of the following categories:
- Telemarketing and email scams that request money or personal information
- Forgery used to open credit accounts
- Theft of money or property
- Taking control of an elder’s accounts for personal gain
- Fraudulent acts such as promising to provide lifelong care in exchange for money but not following through with the contract
Signs of Possible Abuse
Those who abuse the elderly are typically very good at covering their tracks; however, the following signs should alert suspicions to a possible case of financial abuse.
- Unpaid accounts that an elder thought had been paid such as utilities, mortgages and medical bills.
- Unusual bank account activity such as unexplained withdrawals or frequent transfers to unknown accounts
- Sudden interest of a new friend or professional in providing financial assistance
- Missing property, especially valuable heirlooms that could be exchanged for money
- Suspicious signatures on official documents
- Anxiety or depression in an elder who could be the victim of threats or emotional coercion to give someone access to their assets
Protecting an Elder’s Assets
There are many things that loving family members and caregivers can do to protect their loved ones from falling prey to financial scammers. The first thing to do is be aware of any potential signs of abuse. If abuse is suspected, then it is important to report suspicions to the appropriate authorities such as the local police department or the community adult protective services agency. It may also be necessary to contact the Better Business Bureau, credit agencies and any banks associated with the abuse. Finally, appoint a trusted family member or professional financial manager who can continue to monitor and safeguard the financial security of the elder.
For more information about caring for a senior loved one, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Columbus today. We provide flexible hourly and live-in home care in Columbus and are committed to helping seniors remain safe, healthy and happy in the comfort of home. For more information, call 614-481-8888 and speak with a friendly and knowledgeable Care Manager.