Reporting financial abuse: understand how to do it with our foolproof tips for seniors.
One of the sad truths of our society is that there are people who benefit from others. Among the most tragic cases are the cases of financial abuse of the elderly. These situations are difficult to deal with, as many seniors prefer to be in control of their finances for the rest of their lives. As a result, as their skills diminish, they become easier targets for unscrupulous people who lure them into absurdly expensive purchases or involve them in investment fraud.
While these acts of financial abuse of seniors are frightening and you need to be on the lookout for outside scammers, you should also be on the lookout for signs that caregivers and family members may be committing some forms of financial abuse against seniors. The MetLife Mature Market Institute recently found that trusted caregivers/family members are involved in 55% of elderly financial abuse cases.
How do you know if you or someone you know has been a victim of financial abuse? There are several free tools you can use. One of the easiest is to use your free credit report.
Signs that an elderly person is experiencing financial abuse
It is important to look out for signs of financial abuse by the elderly. First, note that it can be difficult to identify cases that appear completely harmless. Some family members may not even consider what they are doing financial abuse. They can take some amount (without permission) that they deserve after the death of a parent, or very often in emergencies they can go into a joint account and use some of the money that belongs to the elderly.
Realize that these acts constitute abuse against elders. Here are some of the signs that an elderly person you know may be a victim of elder abuse:
- values disappear
- Someone comes in and starts isolating the elderly from friends and family
- large loan transactions
- Suspects open new joint accounts
- Excitement About Paperwork Promising Medicare or Social Security Benefit Increases Once personal information is shared with a representative (find out how that representative contacted the senior)
- Constantly collecting calls from international numbers (we had to change my grandparents’ number as they keep getting rates for calls to Jamaica, Russia and Southeast Asia)
- big cash withdrawals
- More and more small subscriptions are automatically debited from the account.
- Signing on checks looks different than before
- Sign that the elderly person is afraid of a caregiver
These are all signs that someone is financially abusing an elderly person. Also, watch for signs that the senior is suddenly defensive and unwilling to talk about their financial situation.
This could be a sign that he is aware – and embarrassed – that he has been the victim of a scam. When checking your parents’ or grandparents’ finances and looking for signs that something is wrong or that someone is taking advantage of them is not comfortable, it has to be done. You have to stop it as soon as possible before it gets worse. Reporting financial abuse, see what ideas to avoid scams.
Unfortunately, the Internet has opened up millions of ways for scammers to deceive the elderly. Internet elder fraud can take many forms, but many of them revolve around health insurance or Medicare. There are millions of Americans on Medicare. Virtually everyone over the age of 65 will be Medicare. There are many potential victims. If a Medicare agent needs to contact the policyholder, they will never use the email. Do not provide personal Medicare information via email.
Another common scam is asking seniors to update their tax or IRS information. These emails can request social security numbers and claim fines if the information is not up to date. Another path that scammers take is investment and savings. They may claim that they have investment opportunities or need banking information to access the money.
Regardless of the complaint or what the email says, no one should send any personal information by email. If you receive an email that concerns you, call the BBB. Always do more research before submitting financial information. Reporting financial abuse, see what ideas to avoid scams.
How to report financial abuse to seniors
Once you suspect that financial abuse against seniors is taking place, it’s time to review your options. Check with your city first or advise on how to contact the adult protection service. Report the abuse to the Juvenile Protection Agency and then to the Attorney General. You will also need to file a complaint with the police. You may also need to check with your local courts (probate or civil courts) whether someone is abusing a power of attorney or a trustee is committing financial abuse.
You may need to question a person’s role as a conservator or guardian to prevent abuse; It may even require an injunction to stop the abuse while you gather the necessary evidence. A good source for understanding elder abuse, including financial abuse, is the National Center on Elder abuse. You want to make sure your loved ones are protected and that your money will last long enough to adequately meet their needs over time.
Therefore, it is important that you look out for signs that someone is financially exploiting the seniors in your life and take action if there are signs of financial abuse by seniors.