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What is financial elder abuse?

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2021 | Elder Law |

Most people find it unconscionable to take advantage of vulnerable people. Unfortunately, many scam artists direct their efforts towards vulnerable people specifically, including the elderly.

Financially abusing seniors leaves them without safety nets or the ability to cover basic living expenses. It also prevents them from trusting others. The National Adult Protective Services Association explains elder financial abuse and how it works.

Contractor scams

A person going door to door may misrepresent themselves as a contractor. Upon performing a cursory review of the property, they might claim there is a major repair issue in need of urgent help. Services are then offered, usually for a steep fee due on the spot. At this point, the “contractor” will leave and never return to complete repairs.

Power of attorney issues

A power of attorney is an essential legal document to help people make important financial decisions when they are unable to do so on their own. However, some friends and family of the elderly push people into handing over financial authority even when it is not warranted. Once the power of attorney is in place, the person can have unlimited access to the senior’s funds.

Investing schemes

A person may contact a senior via mail or phone to inform them of a great investment opportunity. Upon transferring the money for the investment, the person making the initial offer is never heard from again.

Sweepstakes and lottery scams

Scam artists can also make contact and promise the recipient has won a great deal of money. In this case, the scam artist will ask the person to send money to cover taxes or administrative fees. After sending the money, the recipient never receives their promised reward.

As a family member of an elderly person, it is up to you to safeguard your loved one from wrongdoing. Maintaining a close relationship with the person is often the best defense against many types of abuse and mistreatment.