Protecting Your Loved Ones from Elder Financial Exploitation
Elder financial exploitation is nothing to be taken lightly. As our world and technology advances and our loved ones age, it is important to be educated on the risks of fraud for the older generation. This type of abuse can have lasting effects such as negative impacts to their health as well as their social and emotional wellbeing. National Exchange Bank & Trust is here to help you and your family navigate the signs of elder financial exploitation, know the steps to take if you suspect it is occurring, and provide elderly fraud prevention techniques.
About Elder Financial Exploitation
Financial Exploitation is when someone who is known by your loved one illegally or wrongfully utilizes their funds, property, or assets. This may include cashing checks, using credit cards, stealing cash or assets, or persuading them to transfer property ownership.
Although most of the time this occurs with someone who is close to the victim, it can be an acquaintance as well. For example, a financial consultant draining financial accounts for their own benefit or a new “friend” that has ill intentions. Always be aware of who is working closely with your loved one’s finances and assets.
Elderly Fraud Prevention
The best way to protect your loved ones from these vulnerable situations is to be educated on elderly fraud prevention. Know the signs of elder financial exploitation (listed below), stay educated on who is helping to manage assets and finances for your loved one, and ask questions when necessary to verify understanding.
Another pertinent technique to elderly fraud prevention is to educate your loved one on the topic and the risks. This can be a tough conversation to have, but one that is worthwhile!
Signs of Elder Financial Exploitation
- Bank Account Activity: Be on the lookout for unusual bank accounts, how your loved one is managing their money, money that is missing, or unusual use of credit or debit cards. If something feels like a “red flag,” trust your gut.
- Unpaid Bills: If bills are not being paid on time, try to figure out why they may not be getting paid. This may lead to other signs.
- Fraudulent Signatures: This can happen on any important document but pay specific attention to financial documents.
- Changes to important documents: This could include a Will and Testament, financial documents, or others.
- Missing Possessions: If you notice a material possession that is missing from your loved one, this might be a sign of a larger issue.
- Immediate Danger: If you suspect your loved one is in immediate danger, call 911. Keep a close eye on if their mood or behavior changes.
- Report concerns to Adult Protective Services: Find your local agency at Eldercare Locator or call 1-800-677-1116.
- Concerns with a nursing home, assisted living, or adult care home: Contact your local Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
- General Guidance: Call the AARP Fraud Watch helpline at 1-877-908-3360 or visit the Fraud Watch Network.
- Close accounts when necessary: This may include bank accounts or credit/debit cards.
- Never assume there is “nothing you can do”: Trust yourself if you notice a sign of elder financial exploitation and seek support to protect your loved one.
For more information on the different types of fraud and fraud prevention, take a look at our resources page on this subject.