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Financial elder abuse: Know the warning signs

Elder abuse is more prevalent than many of us realize. Financial abuse of senior citizens has increased dramatically during the last ten years in the U.S. Elder financial exploitation is unknown by many Americans, which it makes it difficult to prevent and stop.

You should be aware of financial elder abuse and the warning signs to protect yourself and your loved ones. What do you need to know about financial exploitation? First, financial elder abuse can involve anyone involved with a senior. This includes family members, friends, acquaintances, caretakers, doctors and bankers.

Know the warning signs of financial exploitation

Financial elder abuse can ruin a person's life and even harm a victim's health. Family members and individuals caring for the elderly should be aware of the common types of financial abuse, which includes:

  • Stealing money or property
  • Forging an elderly person's signature
  • Lying or forcing an elderly person to sign over their property or estate
  • Using telemarketing scams to commit fraud or steal money from the elderly

It can be difficult to spot financial abuse, especially when so many different parties are involved in an elderly person's care. However, there are common signs of financial abuse that may warrant further investigation. Patterns of the following issues could mean financial exploitation has occurred:

  • Unpaid bills or notices resulting from late payments
  • Missing money from accounts or transfers between bank accounts that cannot be explained
  • Revised legal documents giving power to someone else that seem questionable
  • Missing property or belongings
  • Missing financial documents
  • New financial arrangements that cannot be explained

What to do if you suspect financial abuse

Family members, caretakers and other individuals should be aware of these signs to help prevent or stop financial abuse of a loved one. It is growing issue among elderly Americans that is serious and can lead to devastating consequences for elderly victims and their families.

What can you do if you suspect elder financial abuse? Contact an attorney with experience in elder law to look into the matter and to start protecting your loved one.

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