“So many people suffer from abuse, and suffer alone.” – Pamela Stephenson
Financial abuse takes many forms from predatory sales practices to outright scams and scandals. Are you or your parents at risk? Learn to spot financial elder abuse.
The first step is to recognize financial elder abuse for what it really is. Any practice that takes undue advantage of people is likely to be abuse. Elders are particularly at risk for financial abuse, though, because they are generally very trusting and, sometimes, more easily confused. Oftentimes, they are somewhat hesitant to discuss financial matters with others, especially when they have become victims of financial abuse. Therefore, it is easy for unscrupulous people to take advantage of them.
How can you spot financial abuse? Some forms of abuse you probably already know about are a friend traveling overseas and they need money wired right away, an online dating pal who needs money, and selling unneeded stuff to seniors who just want to talk to someone friendly on the phone.
The most effective story seems to be this one – your nephew/grandchild is in jail and afraid to call his parents. The elder is told to send money right away or he’ll go in the cell with the mean thugs.
The saddest and most prevalent form of financial abuse of elders is a family member who takes control of the elder’s funds and then takes the money for their own benefit, cheating the elder and, eventually, other heirs.
If you suspect elder abuse, seek help. There are several ways to report abuse. Some of the authorities to consider contacting include your state’s insurance department, your district attorney, Adult Protective Services, or the Federal Trade Commission.