What is financial elder abuse, and what are the signs of it?

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2023 | Financial Elder Abuse

Many California residents hold elders in the highest respect. Sadly, older adults sometimes fall victim to different forms of abuse because of their vulnerability. Financial elder abuse is one of them.

Understanding financial elder abuse

Financial elder abuse is a form of elder abuse involving the victim’s finances. It happens when a person deliberately targets an elderly person and takes advantage of them to help themselves to their money, estate plan or valuables. Unfortunately, many people who perpetrate elder financial abuse are those closest to the victim such as family members, friends or trusted professionals like home health aides.

Recognizing the signs

One of the biggest telltale signs of elder financial abuse is large withdrawals of cash missing from the victim’s bank accounts. There may be unexplained charges on their credit cards as well. However, in some cases, individuals who commit this crime may even steal the elderly victim’s identity to open credit card accounts in their name.

Many older adults have estate plans or at least a will. Financial elder abuse can also involve tricking the victim into changing their documents to add the abuser. For example, a person can trick the elderly into making them their agent in their financial power of attorney. After this happens, it gives them free rein to help themselves to the victim’s money.

Heirlooms and other valuables suddenly going missing is another sign of financial abuse. Often, this includes valuable jewelry and collectibles.

You can protect your loved one if you suspect they’ve fallen prey to abuse. Getting as much information as possible can help you report the crime to the police.