Elder Abuse on the rise in USA
Today it’s hard to watch the evening news or read the local newspapers and not come across an article about somebody ripping off an elderly person. Elder financial abuse is skyrocketing across America. In a recent poll, a majority of financial experts, medical professionals and social workers agreed that financial abuse and investment fraud aimed at the elderly is a problem in the U.S. that’s getting worse.
Among the approximately 800 polled online in early June were state securities regulators, financial planners, medical professionals, caregivers-social workers along with law enforcement and legal experts. 84% said financial crimes targeting seniors are getting worse. Further, 99% said seniors are very vulnerable, 75% said somewhat vulnerable. Alzheimer’s disease and seniors weakening mental capacity are factors making the senior more susceptible to financial and investment fraud.
The top three reasons why elderly financial fraud and abuse goes unreported are:
1). Shame 2). The ability of the con artists to string the victims along until it’s too late.
3). Failure of adult children or caregivers to spot the problem and intervene.
How to recognize signs of elder abuse.
1). Lost or stolen personal belongings of a person in a care facility.
2). Relatives and or family failing to pay for services in home or in a care facility or frequently paying late.
3). Family not providing for personal needs of the elder in care home, eg., no funds for clothes, hair care, personal hygiene items, etc.
4). Unusual activity in their bank accounts, eg., sudden withdrawals of large sums of cash, ATM withdrawals when the elder is home bound.
5). Signature on checks written that doesn’t match the elders signature.
6). Frequent checks written for cash.
7). Withdrawals from accounts that the senior hasn’t used in years.
8). Lost, misplaced or stolen Social Security card, important identity documents, pension checks and life Insurance and or annuity policies missing, misplaced or stolen.
9). Loans against their property, life insurance or annuities.
10). Frequent checks or credit card payments to telemarketing promotions, charities they’ve never before given to, bank wire transfers to individuals or businesses.
Legal Document Indicators.
1). Missing important documents such as their Will, Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds or CD’s.
2). Changes recently made without the knowledge of family, to their bank accounts, property deeds, automobile titles, name changes to beneficiaries of life and annuity policies.
3). New Will, changes made to, or a recent creation of a Power of Attorney for finances.
1). New acquaintances, particularly those who move in with the senior.
2). Refusal or reluctance of family or legal representatives to spend money on care.
3). Appearance of a long-lost relative showing up and expressing concern about the senior’s care.
4). Caregivers tries to isolate the senior from family and friends.
Changes in Lifestyle
1). Missing personal items such as their wedding ring, antiques and other personal items that the senior had a great affection for.
2). Senior stops caring about how they look, wears non matching clothes, rarely bathes,
Had just generally looks unkept and dirty.
3). Suddenly disinterested in activities or things that once were important to them.
If you suspect Elder Abuse in Texas – Call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400