It’s no secret that America’s elderly population is particularly at risk of being taken advantage of financially. In fact, each year those who are 60 and over lose $3 billion due to financial abuse–affecting 5 million people annually.
Financial abuse comes in many forms: sham telemarketers, junk mail, phony sweepstake scams, bogus charities, identity and credit card theft, and even dishonest family members. And according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, for every case of elder financial abuse that’s reported, 43 are not.
With all of that in mind, it’s important to be able to identify the signs of financial fraud, especially since your elderly loved one is at risk. Below are five signs that should raise alarm, adapted from the AARP:
1. Vanishing funds from accounts, missing belongings from the house, unpaid bills, or signs of confusion from your parent about personal financial transactions.
2. A change in spending habits. Is your aging mother suddenly secretive about her money? Are there unexplained charges on her credit card?
3. A family member refusing to be forthcoming about your parents’ finances.
4. A new person befriending you, your parent, or another friend in a way that seems “off” to you. Look for this person’s name on joint accounts, and make sure he or she doesn’t mysteriously have power of attorney. Check property titles, mortgages, deeds, trusts, wills and other documents for mysterious changes if you suspect something is up.
5. A lack of checks and balances for a professional caregiver with access to your loved one’s money.
If you suspect that your elderly parent is a victim of financial fraud, report it to Adult Protective Services. The state of Nebraska takes allegations very seriously and will probe to see if there is any abuse going on. Social workers and nurses are mandatory reporters–which means if Encompass staff suspects abuse of any type we are mandated, by law, to report to the proper authorities.
Physicians Choice Private Duty currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here . Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!
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