Elder Financial Abuse Is a Real Problem – Do You Know the Signs?
The financial exploitation of seniors is a crime that happens more often than statistics reveal. One reason for this is seniors are reluctant to report these crimes when they happen to them. In some cases the reluctance stems from a sense of shame that this happened to them. Other times the abuse is committed by a trusted family member (nearly 90 percent of people who commit elder abuse are family members, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse) who has been caring for them.
Sometimes seniors are not even aware that it is happening or of the full extent of the financial crimes that have been committed against them. Understanding the signs of financial abuse of seniors can help you identify them quickly, and taking legal action to protect current assets and, if possible, recover lost assets or receive compensation.
Signs of Financial Abuse of the Elderly
Some signs of financial abuse are more emotional while others may take a little digging in order to discover. Certified Professional Accountants of Australia offers excellent insights on financial indicators of abuse that include many of the points listed below. It may take an accountant to sort through financial papers to find proof of abuse, but these signs are sure indications that there may be a problem.
- Stress or anxiety around caregivers.
- Erratic or uncharacteristic changes in banking activity.
- Sudden switches to new banks or branches.
- Sudden changes to wills and other legal documents.
- Unfamiliar or forged signatures on checks.
- Unexplained withdrawals of large amounts of money.
- Money suddenly unavailable for utilities and other typical expenses.
- Money and valuables are missing.
- Elderly person states concerns over missing money.
Some elderly people are at greater risk than others for elder abuse. This means that family members need to be extra vigilant to protect the interests of their loved ones.
If you suspect a loved one is a victim of financial elder abuse, call on the elder abuse attorneys at Garcia, Artigliere and Medby at 1-800-281-8515 to learn more about options to protect your loved one’s financial interests and independence.