Elder financial abuse is a growing problem in the midst of the current pandemic.
When you think of the impact COVID-19 has had on seniors, you likely think of healthcare vulnerabilities.
Although the elderly are certainly in a high risk category for the negative affects of the virus itself, the pandemic has left them vulnerable in other ways.
According to a recent Fredericksburg Today article titled “SCC urges awareness of investment fraud among seniors due to increased pandemic isolation,” the current pandemic has also made seniors more vulnerable to elder financial abuse.
Scammers are predatory in nature.
They target those who have little support and have experienced resent loss.
Historically, seniors who had lost a loved one or had entered a health crisis were the most vulnerable.
In the midst of COVID-19, seniors are isolated in higher numbers than recent years.
Loneliness and fear over health make the pandemic a prime opportunity for scammers to perpetrate elder financial abuse.
The unsavory characters could be strangers, but they could also be family or friends.
If you have an elderly loved ones, be vigilant for suspicious activity.
What should you consider?
One red flag is a caregiver or new friend being overly protective and recently gaining access to the finances of the senior.
If your loved one has suddenly developed a fear of friends or family members, be on the alert.
Another sign is not wanting to discuss finances because someone cautioned them to not do so.
If there has been a sudden change in spending habits or estate planning documents, this could be a problem.
Assets disappearing or large checks being written can signal elder financial abuse.
If the signature on estate planning documents does not match previous signatures, these could be fraudulent.
Staying vigilant and noticing these signs of elder financial abuse is more difficult to observe in a pandemic.
What can you do?
Keep in touch.
FaceTime, text, and call your loved ones.
Educate them on tactics used by scammers.
Report suspected fraud.
By taking these steps, you can help protect your loved ones from elder financial abuse.
Reference: Fredericksburg Today (June 20, 2020) “SCC urges awareness of investment fraud among seniors due to increased pandemic isolation”