California residents may not be aware that the crime of the twenty-first century is being considered elderly financial abuse. Its become increasingly rampant among aging adults, especially those who have cognitive impairments such as dementia or Alzheimer's.
Statistics show that 90% of abusers are actually trusted family members of friends. However, elderly individuals who live in social isolation or who need help with the activities of daily living are also at risk of abuse.
One in nine seniors has reported of being abused financially while one in 20 has felt some form of financial mistreatment. Financial exploitation is considered an illegal or improper use of an elder person's property, funds, or assets. This can take many forms, such as soliciting from fake charities or identity theft.
It is important to recognize the signs of financial exploitation so one can figure out how to prevent loved ones from falling prey to such scams.
While the most common and obvious sign is an unexpected change in bank accounts, other signs such as unanticipated transfers to a family member or friend, unauthorized or unexplained account withdrawals and allowing someone else to make decisions on one's behalf are also common. Financial consequences are not the only signs-emotional effects such as irritability, depression and withdrawal can also be warning signs.
Everyone wants what is best for their seniors, which is why it is important to address the signs of financial elder abuse as soon as they are spotted. Those who suspect someone they trust is abusing their loved ones should consider consulting an experienced attorney to discuss their legal options without waiting for it to escalate.