Be Vigilant, Be Aware

Like other forms of abuse, financial exploitation thrives in silence. Learn to spot the often subtle signs, and, inform the authorities right away if you suspect financial abuse.

Senior citizens who suffer from cognitive challenges, especially those with forms of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, are likely to become targets. Home-bound or isolated seniors are also at higher risk.

The signs of financial exploitation can include the following:

• Unexplained bank withdrawals and lower-than-normal balances
• Missing bank statements or other financial documents
• Overdue bill notices in the mail, utility shut-off notices, or even discontinued services and/or eviction notices
• Unexpected or new legal arrangements, such as powers of attorney

While the majority of financial abuses occur within families, caregivers arealso likely culprits. Be aware for new “friendships” that form wherein a caregiver dominates the senior’s time or of caregivers that behave too interested or even too aware of the senior’s financial situation. Take note of gifts or other unusual expenditures for the caregiver by the senior.

Other common forms of financial exploitation include the following:

• Identity theft or credit card fraud
• Telemarketing scams that target the elderly
• “Sweepstakes” or contest scams
• Investment fraud
• The “grandparent scam”
• The fake “Arbitration scam”

Contact National Center on Elder Abuse at 1-800-677-1116 for more information on how you can get help.

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