Financial exploitation is one of the most common forms of elder abuse. As the elderly person being taken advantage of might not realize what’s happening, this particular form of abuse too often flies under the radar, causing big problems for the elder down the road.
Unfortunately, elders are likely victims of financial fraud for several reasons, including physical frailty, forgetful tendencies, internet illiteracy, and trusting natures.
Physically frail elders are less able to do work around their houses or check out actual problems. Scam artists might take advantage of this by claiming problems exist that aren’t there or by stealing while on the job. Some scam artists appear to be contractors (and might actually be, in some cases), but they charge for work that was never done.
Ways to help: Most contractors are legitimate, but it is good to have a close friend or relative present to decrease the risk of fraud here. This way the helper can ensure legitimate work is being done. Similarly, it helps to have a trusted friend present while any other work is being done in or around the home to decrease the chance of theft.
An elder might forget about lending money to a family member or friend. Similarly, a forgetful elder might give sums multiple times without realizing it.
Ways to help: Help the elder set up a system for tracking their money so it is easier to know what is going where. This will help the elder avoid giving repeat checks or loaning the same amount more than once without meaning to. Since the elder might easily forget to use this system while spending/paying, it might help to review their bank account on a regular basis to make sure expenses are actually being tracked in full.
The internet is an incredible tool that can be used for good on so many fronts. Unfortunately, it is also used by those with ill intent to swindle people from all walks of life out of money or to steal identities. As elderly people aren’t digital natives, it can be more difficult for them to recognize potential problems or scams.
Ways to help: Teach the elder the basics of internet safety and what internet scams look like. If needed, place a safety checklist near their computer so they can review it as often as needed.
Recommended internet safety tips:
- Delete unsolicited emails.
- Don’t believe messages saying you’ve won prizes or money for doing nothing.
- Be skeptical of donation requests.
- Do not disclose personal information online.
- Think twice before clicking on links. Are you absolutely sure you will be taken to a legitimate site?
Often lonely, elders might be too quick to trust those pretending to want to be their friends. These new “friends” only get close to the elder in order to steal from them directly or to convince them to embark on some equally devastating financial venture.
Ways to help: Be skeptical of new characters in the elder’s life, especially if they seem too good to be true. Some people might genuinely care to become friends with the elderly person, but it’s a good idea to take the time to personally get to know any of these new friends so you can judge for yourself.
Financial exploitation is a problem for many elders, and the personal injury attorneys at Bachus and Schanker, LLC want to help put a stop to it. If you or a loved one has suffered financial abuse, Bachus and Schanker’s Colorado personal injury lawyers want to help you make things right. Contact them for a free consultation.