Financial fraud (aka) abuse is increasing and the elderly are the most common victims. Here are some common causes of elder abuse and steps you can take to help someone you know.
- Family members: It’s distressing but children are often the most common perpetrators of financial fraud. It often starts quite innocently when they become the responsible person over Mom or Dad finances. In time, the child starts dipping into the accounts for their own needs. Over time a significant amount of assets disappear.
Steps you can take: It’s best to be transparent by having other family members stay involved. If there are more people involved in the process you have a better system of checks and balances.
- Internet, telephone, mail and IRS scams: They are becoming a daily annoyance and many are very good at conning their victims out of their money. A caller may be asking for money for a relative in need or to stop collection on a false IRS debt.
Steps you can take: Protect your personal information. Never give out information over the phone. Be very selective who you will release your social security number to. Don’t pay out money unless a trusted friend or advisor is involved.
- Romance scams: Remember, many older adults, both woman, and men, are victimized in this manner.
Steps you can take: Be especially vigilant. Be aware of your environment. Try to look beyond the superficial. Limit your use of social media. Pursue relationships face-to-face. Unfortunately, in this day and age, deception comes in all shapes and sizes.
- Caregivers financial exploitation: This is a type of abuse that is difficult to prevent. These caregivers range from personal care aides who provide non-medical assistance such as helping with the laundry and cooking to home health aides. Older adults often rely on and trust in-home caregivers, and some caregivers have used that relationship to exploit their clients.
Steps you can take: Limit a caregiver access to an older adult’s ATM or credit card. Don’t leave valuable papers open and on tables for caregivers to see. Always have a criminal background check before hiring.