Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Understanding Financial Abuse of Seniors

Financial abuse is a kind of mistreatment that, unfortunately, some seniors suffer. They may experience this at the hand of a family member or a caregiver, but it is almost always someone whom they trust. Melissa, who lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, knows firsthand the importance of protecting your senior against the advances of individuals who would take advantage of them. Her mother, Sandra, was financially abused by Melissa's uncle. After going through such a devastating situation, Melissa is now dedicated to assisting others in recognizing and addressing the signs of financial mistreatment.

Here are, according to the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, some of the ways in which seniors can fall victim to this form of exploitation:[1]

  • Money or property is stolen from elderly individuals without their knowledge
  • The abuser forges the signature of a senior to make purchases, take out loans, or conduct other financial activities
  • Elderly individuals are deceived or coerced into signing power of attorney over to a specific individual
  • Seniors are influenced by abusers with ill intentions to alter their will or sign a deed
  • The abuser utilizes the property of an elderly individual without first receiving their permission to do so
  • The abuser promises to care for a senior in exchange for money, property, or other valuables but does not uphold their end of the deal
  • Individuals lie to gain the trust of seniors and then scam them into giving them money, property, or other valuable items
  • Telemarketing scams scare seniors into giving out sensitive financial information or making a payment to a certain cause or individual
  • Fraudulent activities convince seniors to hand over financial information or monetary or other assets
The elderly individuals who are most at risk of becoming victims of financial abuse are those who predators may believe are isolated. Additionally, seniors who suffer from physical and mental disabilities, as well as those who are not well-versed in financial matters, are primary targets for abuse. By keeping a close eye on your senior, you can protect your loved one in the same way that Melissa protected her mother.

[1] http://www.preventelderabuse.org/elderabuse/fin_abuse.html

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