Guest Contributor

Elder abuse sadly takes many forms. It can be physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. The latter is when someone – who is often well known by the victim – illegally or improperly uses an elder’s funds, property, or assets. Here are some examples, signs that abuse may be occurring, and steps you can take if you suspect elder financial exploitation.

How It Works

  • A family member cashes the victim’s checks, uses their credit cards, steals cash or valuables from the home, or convinces them to transfer property
  • A crooked financial consultant drains a victim’s financial accounts
  • A new “friend” enters the picture and appears to have undue influence

What You Should Watch For

  • Unusual changes in bank accounts or how the victim is managing his or her money
  • Unpaid bills
  • Fraudulent signatures on financial documents
  • Unusual changes in a will or other financial document

What You Should Do

  • If someone is in immediate danger, dial 911
  • Report concerns to Adult Protective Services; you can find your local agency at Eldercare Locator or call 800-677-1116
  • If you suspect abuse of a person living in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or other adult care home, contact the local long-term care ombudsman

Financial exploitation and fraud come at a huge cost to victims and not only financially. These scourges also have negative social, emotional, and health impacts. If you suspect something, do something. For guidance, call the AARP Fraud Watch Helpline at 877-908-3360.

When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. For more information visit Fraud Watch Network.

Source: AARP Fraud Watch Network