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Long-term care and elder financial abuse

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2022 | blog, Elder Law |

Older residents of Indiana expect to be treated with respect and care. Unfortunately, elder abuse occurs, including financial abuse, that harms individuals and puts them at risk.

What is elder financial abuse?

Elder financial abuse is a type of fraud perpetrated on older people to deprive them of their money for the perpetrator’s personal gain. It often involves a scam or deception to steal money from an older person and can be done through myriad tactics. It’s similar to other types of financial fraud schemes that are carried out online or via phone and target random people, but elder financial abuse specifically targets senior individuals.

How is elder financial abuse committed?

There are many ways that elder financial abuse can be committed. Often, it involves some type of fraudulent scheme or a false promise of goods or services. The person might claim to belong to a charity, appealing to the older person’s good nature to help in order to get their money. Repair, plumbing or utility scams involve someone coming to the victim’s door and pretending to offer to do some type of work in the home while actually intending to scam money out of them.

Some of these crimes also occur online. Email phishing scams are a common example. As elderly people aren’t as savvy to recognize the signs of a scam, they can fall prey and click on a rogue link, open an attachment or even reply and give out their personal and financial information to the thieves.

A person might even commit elder financial abuse by posing as their relative, asking for cash to take care of a problem. Predatory lenders are also very common perpetrators of elder financial abuse.

Sometimes, the older person’s own caretaker such as a home health aide might commit the offense. Sadly, the senior relies on their caretaker and trusts them, which means they often don’t suspect fraud.

How does elder financial abuse affect the victim?

Victims of elder financial abuse can suffer numerous effects of the crime. These include the following:

  • Financial loss
  • Loss of trust of other people
  • Anger, anxiety, depression, fear and shame
  • Poor physical health due to stress and financial strain
  • Loss of residence, utilities or vehicle

If your elderly loved one has fallen victim to this crime, you have options to hold the perpetrator accountable. You may be able to file civil litigation in addition to pending criminal charges.