As people age, they may encounter physical and mental issues, making them more vulnerable to elder financial exploitation. Being not as sharp as they once were and frailer, it may be more difficult to protect themselves, allowing some individuals to take advantage of elders wrongfully. To protect yourself and your loved ones from elder abuse and financial exploitation, it is essential to understand what elder financial exploitation is and how t
According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, elder financial exploitation occurs when an individual wrongfully takes the assets of a vulnerable person. They usually use a form of deception to take hold of the assets.
Forms of Elder Financial Exploitation may Include the Following:
- Lottery scams
- Fraudulent Charities
- Real estate
- Email or phone communications; may include deception to get an elderly person to hand over their password willfully.
How Can One Protect Themself from Elder Financial Exploitation?
There are many ways individuals may try to take advantage of the elderly, which means it is vital to be aware of how to protect yourself from financial abuse. Financial abuse can be from any individual, family member, or even caretakers. It may be blatant, or the exploration may be more subtle. To best prepare, one must be aware of their rights.
The Following are ways to Protect Oneself from Elder Financial Exploitation:
Do not fall for telemarketing scams-
Telemarketer scammers often prey on older adults because they believe they may be more susceptible to the scam. It is likely a scam if they ask you to send money immediately or press you to decide on their offer immediately. Do not provide the telemarketer with personal information if this is the case.
Do not fall for email scams-
Like telemarketing scams, if you receive an email in your inbox that claims you have won a prize, need to provide personal information, or send them money, it is likely a scam. Government agencies recommend that you block the email address related to scams or phishing.
Do not leave money or valuables in plain sight-
If a caretaker or untrustworthy family member is visiting your home, they may try to take your valuables. If this is a concern, it may be ideal to purchase a safe and keep any valuables there.
Do not sign blank checks; this may allow another individual to fill in the amount.
If you send someone a signed blank check, they may write in whatever amount they please and cash it in. Banks often recommend only sending checks with a specified amount written out.
Do not cave into family members or caretakers that are pressuring you to do anything with your money you are not comfortable with doing-
Sometimes caretakers or untrustworthy family members do not have your best interest at heart. If they are pressuring you to send them money or do something with your money that you are not comfortable with, it is best not to cave into the pressure.
Frequently check financial statements for any unauthorized withdrawals-
Keeping frequent tabs on your financial statements may allow you to notice if there are any unauthorized withdrawals quickly. If you notice anything unusual, contact your bank, and they may guide you on how best to proceed.
Do not give strangers access to your bank account-
While strangers or people you do not know very well may try to convince you otherwise, it is best not to give them access to your bank account. Giving them access allows them to spend your money however they please.
Plan to protect your assets
There are many ways to protect your assets, and a financial advisor is the best person to go to for information and assistance. It is crucial to protect one’s assets to keep things such as their home, car, and money in their possession.
Charges of Elder Financial Exploitation
As per California Penal Code 368, the accused may be charged with a misdemeanor if the value was $950 or less.
- Summary probation
- One year in county jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Up to four years in prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
Contact Pride Legal
If you or a loved one has been a victim of elder financial exploitation, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.