As with many types of abuse, financial exploitation often occurs between an elderly person and someone they have a close personal relationship with, such as a neighbor, friend, or family member. Other financial abusers may be strangers or figures of authority who the elderly person trusts, including caretakers, medical practitioners, lawyers, pastors, and bank employees.
While many of us believe senior citizens deserve exceptional levels of respect, abusers take advantage of the dependence of the elderly. Cognitive impairment and need for daily assistance render senior citizens particularly vulnerable to financial schemes and exploitation. According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, elder financial abuse is on the rise, but less than 3% of cases are officially reported.
At Garcia & Artigliere, our legal team serves families nationwide in the fight against elder financial exploitation. We understand the methods abusers may have used to gain control over your elderly loved one and we will do everything in our professional power to expose their crimes, hold them accountable in a court of law, and attain compensation for your loved one.
Recognizing Financial Exploitation of Senior Citizens: Common Forms of Abuse
Elder financial abuse takes different forms depending on the nature of the abuser. Strangers, professionals, caretakers, and family members use different methods and schemes to take advantage of senior citizens for the purpose of monetary gain.
Some of the most common forms of abuse we have seen among our clients include:
- Internet or telemarketing scams. Lottery scams may involve telling a senior citizen they’ve won the lottery, and subsequently asking them for money to cover taxes. Others may call pretending to be a police officer asking for bail money for the elderly citizen’s grandchild. Fake charities may ask for donations, especially after natural disasters.
- Scams by “professionals.” These abusers may be unlicensed, or they could be impersonating professionals. Home services scams may involve “technicians” visiting a senior citizen’s home and collecting payment without performing adequate work. Others may pressure elderly citizens into taking out loans, investing in pyramid schemes, or submitting private data (e.g. credit card information, Social Security number, etc.). This kind of abuse also includes Medicare scams, identity theft, and other types of fraud.
- Exploitation by trusted friends, caretakers, or family members. These people typically have access to the elderly person’s cash, credit cards, and bank account information, and they may steal money directly from those sources. Others will take advantage of the senior citizen’s incapacity by using Power of Attorney to make self-serving decisions. Caretakers could falsify their timesheets, use the elderly person’s money to pay for their own bills, keep change from errands, or charge for the same service multiple times.
In your case, financial abusers likely used manipulative tactics and emotional abuse to exploit your loved one. As with some of the worst cases we’ve seen, they may have threatened your senior citizen with abandonment, neglect, or physical harm.
Because of this abuse, your elderly loved one may have lost their financial security, come to rely on government assistance, become suspicious of others, and/or developed feelings of shame, anger, fear, and depression. Financial exploitation can severely undermine a senior citizen’s already-fragile sense of independence and empowerment. Recovering from this abuse may require psychological treatment as well as monetary compensation.
Our Firm Can Hold Your Loved One’s Abusers Accountable
If your elderly loved one was financially abused, you may struggle to understand how someone could be so cruel to someone so vulnerable. Unfortunately, because our legal team has witnessed hundreds of these cases across the nation, we can attest to how often this occurs. Due to that extensive experience, however, we have the knowledge and skills needed to help you and your family seek justice.
Let us help you attain compensation as soon as possible. Call Garcia & Artigliere at (800) 328-2630 or schedule your free case review today.