Elder financial abuse can hit at home.
Close to home.
Some populations are more vulnerable to financial abuse than others.
Seniors fall within this category.
Older people often have a lifetime of savings stored.
Unfortunately, the physical and mental effects of aging make these individuals prime targets to criminals.
According to a recent Detroit Free Press article titled “Elderly getting scammed by their own family members — and one group wants to stop it,” victims of elder financial abuse lose $120,000 on average to scammers.
Although many people are taught to be wary of strangers or phony businesses, these are not comprehensive.
Keeping such a limited view could blind you to threats closer to home.
Often financial exploitation comes from family members or friends.
These “trusted” individuals abuse their relationships with the senior to defraud them.
This can take place over installments or in one transaction.
The perpetrator can entice the senior to transfer property or even misuse a power of attorney.
It is important to be aware of suspicious transactions, especially over this coming holiday season.
Although reports of elder financial abuse have quadrupled from 2013 to 2017, it is believed many instances go unreported.
For this reason, the AARP has started a training program for those working in banks and credit unions called BankSafe.
The online program is designed to train these front line professionals to spot signs of elder financial abuse and mention it to their supervisors.
The pilot program was run at 500 branches of banks and credit unions for 6 months in 11 states.
During this time almost $1 million was protected from criminals trying to steal money from seniors.
Although there has been some success with this program, you should not rely solely on alert professionals at financial institutions for protection.
If you have elder loved ones, you should watch for signs of elder financial abuse.
If you suspect financial abuse, report the matter to the authorities without delay.
Your loved ones will thank you.
Reference: Detroit Free Press (October 16, 2019) “Elderly getting scammed by their own family members — and one group wants to stop it”