Financial exploitation of the elderly is a serious and often underreported problem. Financial exploitation of the elderly occurs when a person misuses or takes the assets of an elderly person and uses it for their own benefit.
Some examples include cashing an elderly person’s checks without their knowledge or permission, forging their signatures, deceiving them into signing certain documents or making withdrawals without permission from their bank account with the elderly person’s ATM card. Also, according to research, 90% of the perpetrators are family members or trusted others.
According to recent research, 1 in 20 older adults indicated that some type of perceived financial mistreatment occurred in the recent past. However, elderly financial exploitation is vastly underreported as only one in 44 cases of financial exploitation is ever reported. Almost one in ten victims of financial mistreatment will turn to Medicaid because of the fact that their money and assets were stolen from them.
Also, cognitive impairment and the need for help with activities of daily living makes victims more vulnerable to financial exploitation. Financial exploitation frequently happens without the explicit knowledge and consent of a senior and as mentioned previously, the perpetrators typically involve individuals who are known and trusted by the elderly person such as:
Among the ways that family members and trusted persons financially exploit the elderly include the following:
However, scams and frauds which involve strangers are also quite common. Among the commonly reported forms of financial exploitation include the following:
The effects of financial exploitation on an elderly person are quite serious and the individual frequently experiences:
There are some warning signs of financial exploitation such as:
Interventions to address financial exploitation of the elderly include closing joint bank accounts, having the victim revoke the power of attorney, having a responsible person or agency to assist with managing the victim’s funds and reducing the isolation of victims by connecting them with agencies that can assist them. Also, another effective way is to work closely with banks to recognize, report and investigate financial exploitation and involve law enforcement when necessary.
If you suspect financial exploitation of an elderly person, it is important to contact a family law attorney before proceeding. It is also important that you contact Adult Protective Services, local law enforcement, and whatever institution manages the senior’s finances.
Last Modified: 11-22-2017 02:30 PM PSTLaw Library Disclaimer
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