Financial elder abuse occurs when someone takes property and/or control over someone’s finances via manipulation, coercion, confusion and other unorthodox means. According to the AARP, over 90% of victims know the abuser. It is often a friend, family member, neighbor or associate.
People who fall prey to financial elder abuse are typically lonely or have recently lost a loved one. They can be confused and don’t always have full knowledge or understanding of their finances. Depending on their health, a victim not be able to press charges easily, which makes them easy prey to criminals. As a result, they often fall into depression, battle shame and embarrassment, and rely on government programs to get by.
Elder Abuse by a Friend/Family Member
Perpetrators of these crimes are often friends or family, or put themselves in a position in their jobs or volunteer work to meet unassuming victims. The perpetrator typically commits these offenses because of either a sense of entitlement towards the victim’s property, or they themselves are facing financial difficulties or battling addictions.
- Stealing valuables
- Forging checks,
- Using the victim’s debit card without permission
- Coercing the victim to make them Power of Attorney
- Forcing the victim to sign over property against the victim’s better judgement.
Elder Abuse by Scammers
Perpetrators are strangers in the form of door-to-door salesmen, telemarketers, SPAM email, and junk mail. They utilize the following scams to commit unauthorized debit card/ACH transactions, or convince the victim to send large sums of money in the form of cash, gift cards or transfers.
- Non-existent investments or charities
- Insurance policies with no value
- Fake lottery or prizes that require you to pay for your prize
- Impersonating the IRS or another government entity
- Gaining access to the victim’s computer through unorthodox means and demanding payment for bogus computer software.
The best ways to avoid falling prey to financial elder abuse is to plan ahead and verify the validity of all financial requests. Find someone you genuinely trust to assist you with your finances if you are unable to keep up with them yourself. Setting up a trust, Power of Attorney, and a will are examples of ways to be proactive. Get your free yearly credit reports from all three bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com. Never give out account information, your social security number, or access to your electronic devices over the phone unless you initiated the call and are certain of whom you are speaking with. Contact your bank with any questions regarding your monthly statements.
If you suspect you have been a victim of financial elder abuse, contact the authorities immediately. Account holders should also contact their bank. A bank associate can review your options with you to prevent further unauthorized transactions. Concerned individuals may also contact your area’s Adult Protective Services.
Banner Capital Bank cares about the safety and welfare of all of our customers. Please contact your local branch with any concerns you may have for yourself or a loved one.