If you or someone you know is a victim of financial abuse, please tell someone you trust. You are not alone, and there are people who can help. Inform the police, your bank, and Adult Protection Services.
Steps to Protect Yourself
- Plan ahead to protect your assets and to ensure your wishes are followed. Talk to someone at your financial institution, an attorney, or financial advisor about the best options for you.
- Carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters. Select someone who has your best interest at heart.
- Never give out personal information, including Social Security Number, account number, or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
- Stay alert to common fraud schemes. Never pay a fee or taxes to collect sweepstakes or lottery "winnings."
- Never rush into a financial decision. Ask for details in writing and consult with a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don't understand.
- Check references and credentials before hiring anyone. Don't allow workers to have access to information about your finances and make sure to lock up your checkbook, account statements, and other sensitive information when others will be in your home.
- Pay with checks or credit cards instead of cash to keep a paper trail.
Steps to Protect Loved Ones
- Have regular contact with loved ones.
- Keep active and involved.
- Have candid conversations on visitors or caregivers and their activities.
- Listen for red flags in the conversation and probe deeper without alerting.
- As a family, have conversations as to how financial matters are going to be handled.
What Is It?
Elder financial abuse is the illegal or improper use of an elder's funds, property, or assets. It could be as simple as taking money from a wallet or as complex as manipulating a person to turn over the property to the abuser.
- Changes in spending and transaction patterns
- Changes to accounts and/or documentation
- Changes in appearance or demeanor