Elder financial abuse is the crime of the 21st century with a reported loss of $36 billion dollars each year.
The top five reasons older adults are attractive targets to financial predators include:
- The belief that older adults are vulnerable
- Older adults have memory problems
- Older adults have predictable daily and weekly habits
- Older adults do not believe they have enough money even when they do
- Older adults are not savvy with money
Here are the definitions we use at the Elder Financial Safety Center when we talk about financial fraud and abuse.
Financial fraud is the use of perception, trickery, false pretense, or dishonest acts or statements for financial gain.
The grandparent scam is an example of financial fraud. A stranger tricks the older adult over the phone into believing they are their grandchild in a crisis, and it is urgent money is sent right away to help get them out of a terrible situation. Usually, they beg the older adult to keep the secret from mom or dad. They often call in the middle of the night, and they count on the older adult to start naming one or more of their grandchildren to help them carry out the scam.
Financial abuse is the illegal or unauthorized use of a person’s property, money or other valuables.
An example is a family member who is the agent of the older adult’s durable power of attorney, and writing checks for their own bills.
Here are five common signs of abuse we have seen at the Elder Financial Safety Center:
- They are unable to pay their bills and have enough money to do so
- They have “new” best friends and alienate old friends and family
- They made sudden changes to their financial documents
- They cannot explain repeated cash withdrawals or money transfers
- There are suspicious signatures on their check or other documents
If someone you know is showing signs of financial abuse, please call us at 214-525-6130.
Need assistance? We’re here to help.
Please use the form to contact Elder Financial Safety Center.