Elder financial abuse is committed when someone improperly, unethically, or illegally accesses a senior’s funds, property, or assets for personal gain.
Even if a senior gives permission, the person using the funds can be held responsible for committing elder abuse, especially if the senior is physically or mentally impaired or dependent on others for care. For this reason, elder financial fraud is considered a form of abuse.
Here are five examples of elder financial abuse:
- Cashing an elderly person’s check without authorization.
- Forging an older person’s signature.
- Misusing or stealing an older person’s money or possessions.
- Coercing or deceiving an older person into signing a document.
- Convincing a senior to sign up for a risky business opportunity that benefits the other person.
Financial issues aren’t the only effect of elder financial abuse, and the target isn’t the only one affected. Both the target and the target’s loved ones may be impacted, financially and emotionally.
With preventative measures, the chances of financial abuse may be reduced, but there’s no guarantee it will never happen. It’s important to know what to look for so that if your loved one is affected, you can help them immediately.
Relationships: Be wary of new close friendships or a withdrawal from existing friends and family.
Mental: Targeted seniors may express confusion about their financial history, or they may act embarrassed or uncharacteristically resentful when you try to discuss finances with them.
Assets: Watch for unusual account activity, large purchases, unpaid bills, or financial opportunities that seem “too good to be true.”
Physical: Changes in appearance or hygiene may signal that an elderly person is struggling, and the cause may be fraud.
Learn more about how to prevent elder financial fraud from happening to you or a loved one.