Elder financial exploitation is a form of elder abuse. Elder exploitation can take many forms however nearly all end with a similar result of mistreatment of the elder’s funds or assets. The signs associated with this financial exploitation are generally more subtle than that of physical or emotional abuse. Knowing the forms and signs of elder care exploitation will help you know what to look for.
- Stranger Scams: This form of exploitation is rather broad as it includes various scams aimed at Elders. A few examples include Lottery and sweepstakes scams where the elder receives a letter telling them they’ve won a cash prize and that they are required to send a sum of money to cover taxes or processing fees; Charity Scams where the elder is requested to make a donation for good causes, these are very common after disasters; also telemarketing scams which are accompanied by threats therefore coercing the elder with fear into ‘paying’ the telemarketer.
- Predators that seek out elders to exploit in the following ways: Love scams where a person claims to love the elder while using that ‘professed’ love as a means of manipulation to gain access to the elder’s funds and assets.
- Family, Friends and Caregivers Exploitation: The elder’s loved ones, trusted friends and even in home care providers can facilitate elder exploitation in various ways. One example is a power of attorney that was given by the elder to a family member to handle the elder’s finances, this family member uses that power of attorney as way to steal the elder’s funds for themselves. Another example is a person of trust threatens to abandon or harm the elder unless the elder gives them money or assets. A final example includes an in home caregiver coercing or manipulating the elder to sign false documents.
What is stated above is only a few ways exploitation of an elder can occur. There are, sadly, a great many ways in which a person can exploit another. However, there are several signs to watch for that indicate exploitation of an elder such as unpaid bills, notices of utilities being terminated or eviction, strange bank account activity such as large withdrawals or unexplained account transfers and forged signatures on checks. Seeing a pattern in any of these signs concerning the elder’s assets and fund can also be an indicator.
Financial exploitation can leave the elder feeling helpless, lost, and depressed. When it comes time to pay for medical expenses, bills or medication they are left with little to no money to do so. If the caregiver is the one exploiting the elder, they are not able to make the purchases necessary as they have exploited the funds.
Any form of abuse is devastating to the victim and can cause irreparable harm to the elder. Exploitation is no different. If you suspect elder care exploitation, do not hesitate to contact us about our resources to help keep our elders financially protected.