Steps to Prevent Elder Financial Abuse

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Posted on: 07 October 2017 by Milton Grimes

One of the largest growing crimes in the UK is what's known as elder financial abuse, as criminals are targeting senior citizens and their finances at an increasing rate.

To understand just how dangerous and widespread elder financial abuse has become around the world, a study held by the Arizona Board of Regents determined that around 60 percent of all elderly residents in Arizona and Florida were targeted for some kind of financial fraud in 2011, rates that have only continued to grow. The situation in the UK is not much different. While more modern techniques are developed by fraudsters on a regular basis as a means of committing elder financial abuse, there are a variety of steps that you can take to prevent you or someone you know becoming a victim of this abuse.

What is Elder Financial Abuse?

Elder financial abuse is a crime that occurs when senior citizens are deprived of their financial resources through criminal means. Some examples of this type of crime include fraud, theft, misuse of a person's credit, or misuse of a person's assets, as well as instances where undue amounts of influence are used as a means of obtaining full control over a person's finances.

When a person grows older, their mental faculties will begin to decline, making them more susceptible to financial abuse, particularly for senior citizens who suffer from a disability or rely on someone else to handle their finances. While newer and more modern technology has increased the number of techniques used on seniors in an attempt to commit elder financial abuse, there are ways that you can prevent this crime from occurring.

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Elder Financial Abuse

The first step towards preventing elder financial abuse is to focus on and identify the most common warning signs that this abuse is about to occur or could happen at some point in the near future. Some of the most prevalent warning signs include

  • Bills that are currently unpaid

  • Subscriptions that have duplicates

  • Utilities that have been disconnected

  • Checks that are overdrawn

You might also want to look through the checkbook of your elderly relative or friend to identify if a different signature appears at any point, as this might indicate that a deed or contract has been signed by someone else who is attempting to gain control of some aspect of the person's finances. If they have taken out some sort of a loan you should check their payments and make sure they’re correct, even if they’re payday loans. If the elderly person in question has no memory of signing, there's a good chance that they are suffering from elder financial abuse.

Once you've identified the warning signs, you'll also want to be able to identify people who are the most likely to commit such an act. In many cases, elder financial abuse is committed by neighbors, friends, medical professionals, or even family. Look out for anyone who's been acting differently towards you and is currently going through a difficult financial situation themselves.

Once you've taken steps to notice people who might be willing to commit this act, the next step you should take is to safeguard yourself or your elderly family member or friend from continued financial abuse. It's important to never hand out social security numbers or other sensitive financial information over the phone or online via email. Banks can provide fraud alerts, while every elderly person should have a credit card that comes equipped with zero liability fraud protection.

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