There are people out there who try to take advantage of the elderly. Senior citizens suffering from Alzheimer’s and living alone are at a much higher risk for this to happen. Luckily, there are steps to prevent elder abuse, whether it’s physical, emotional, or financial.
Financial abuse can range from seizing control of property, claiming assets, forging signatures, and draining bank accounts. Thieves may max out a senior citizen’s credit cards or transfer funds to their own accounts. Fraudulent activity accounts for $2.9 billion lost on an annual basis. 51% of theft happens at the hands of strangers, while another 34% are people taking advantage of their own families.
Women are twice as likely to become victims. The most susceptible are those who are older than 80 and live by themselves. Victims often sign documents and give away personal information without realizing what is happening. Other times, family members are targeted because they are not fluent in English. Sometimes, the elderly are aware of the theft, but poor short-term memory renders them unable to recall what happened.
Those most likely to commit crimes against their own grandparents and other elderly family members are coddled children. These are kids who were raised within affluent families yet unable to make their own way in life. After their parents cut them off, they find other means of getting by.
Sometimes the fraud is not committed because of selfishness. For example, children may take in their parents or grandparents, and medical bills begin to pile up. Illegally using another’s finances may be an attempt to make these ends meet. Regardless of intention, this form of abuse is serious and can be prevented.
There are some clues someone you love is being taken advantage of financially. Look out for these signs:
Of course, you don’t have to wait for a financial disaster to happen to take action. There are some proactive measures love ones can take to ensure their family’s interests are cared for. These include:
If you suspect someone you love is victim of financial abuse, act immediately. It often takes months, or even years, to repair all the damage. Sometimes not all the money can be recovered. Quick-acting thieves can drain all assets and disappear quickly. Call Sweeney Merrigan Law for further help.