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Financial Elder Abuse

Personal Security

Financial Elder Abuse

Elder financial abuse is one of the largest growing threats in the lives of older adults. Financial abuse of an elder is the fraudulent or improper use of a senior’s money, property, or assets. Seniors are prime targets since they may be vulnerable or have significant savings.  Abusers can be anyone—family members, caregivers, friends, neighbors or complete strangers. Keys to spotting financial abuse is a change in a person’s financial patterns. Watch out for these red flags:

  • Frequent or unexplained withdrawals that are inconsistent for the elder
  • Withdrawals from bank accounts or transfers between accounts the customer cannot explain
  • A new “best friend” accompanying an older person to the bank
  • Sudden non-sufficient fund activity or unpaid bills
  • Closing CDs or accounts without regard to penalties
  • Uncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money
  • Suspicious signatures on checks, or outright forgery
  • Confusion, fear or lack of awareness on the part of an older customer
  • Checks written as “loans” or “gifts”
  • Bank statements that no longer go to the customer’s home
  • New powers of attorney the older person does not understand
  • A caretaker, relative or friend who suddenly begins conducting financial transactions on behalf of an older person without proper documentation
  • Altered wills and trusts

You should report abuse to your local Department of Social Services in the county where the disabled adult lives.