How to report financial elder abuse in California

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

California has the highest number and percentage of elders in the United States. Around 11% of the state’s population are seniors. According to predictions, this will increase to 20% within two decades. Financial abuse is a concern among elders because of their age-related cognitive decline and decreased ability to defend themselves.

Adult Protective Services

You can report elder abuse by a conservator to California’s Adult Protective Services. Most states operate their own adult protective services department. In California, APS protects people who are 60 years old and older and disabled adults who are 18+. When you contact APS, they conduct an investigation. The department accepts phone calls 24/7 all days of the week.

Information to include in your report

California allows you to file reports without all of the details about what’s going on. As long as you have a reason to suspect that financial elder abuse is going on, you can file a report with what you know. In your report, you must describe the suspected financial abuse in addition to any other forms of abuse or neglect that you have a reason to believe are happening. You also need to explain what the victim’s health conditions are, including disabilities, memory loss and decision-making impairments.

Other details to include in your report:

  • Time, date, and location of each incident
  • Names of all involved people
  • Names of all witnesses

If someone has threatened to harm the victim, then it’s more appropriate to call the local police station. In emergency situations, you may want to call 911. An emergency situation is an immediate risk of harm or if you’re actively witnessing abuse.

Financial institutions

Prompt reporting to the financial institution where the perpetrator stole or misused funds may result in a reversal of the transaction. Some banks, credit unions and credit card companies are able to return stolen money, as long as it’s reported quickly enough.

You don’t need to know with 100% certainty that financial abuse is happening to an elder to report it. If you notice the warning signs, then you may file a report to the appropriate authorities who will conduct a thorough investigation.