Elderly people work their whole lives to be financially secure when they retire. They will rely on that money to carry them through illness and other expenses that come with aging. Sometimes, that money is stolen from them, whether it be from a scam by strangers or from a family member that has gained control over their bank account. According to the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA), one in nine seniors has reported being abused, neglected,or exploited within the last year, and one in twenty seniors has indicated some form of perceived financial mistreatment. Unfortunately, most people who take advantage of the elderly are the ones who are closest to them. NAPSA reported that 90 percent of abusers are trusted friends or family members.
There are several common ways that trusted family members can exploit older adults. Using a Power of Attorney, given by the victim to allow another person to handle their finances, trusted family members can embezzle significant amounts money out of the senior’s account into their own. They can also steal credit cards, checkbooks, and use them at the expense of their loved one. If you suspect elder financial abuse, you should act. First and foremost, make sure your elderly friend or family member feels safe and secure. Then, report the crime by calling your local Adult Protective Services and state attorney general’s office. Contact an elder law attorney and file a police report. By taking these actions, you can help prevent your senior loved one from being exploited.