Approximately 5 million American seniors experience some type of abuse every year. Financial exploitation is the most reported form of elder abuse in the United States. This form of abuse can occur in the hands of family members, caregivers, and friends, resulting in serious and long-lasting repercussions to the victims and their families.
Financial elder abuse not only robs older adults of their security and finances, but also their dignity. Here are five common warning signs for financial elder abuse to watch out for so you can identify it and seek appropriate help for your loved one immediately.
1. Unpaid Bills And Expenses
The most noticeable sign of financial elder abuse is outstanding bills and other personal expenses that the victim has, in the past, been able to manage but is now struggling to pay. Unpaid bills may be the symptom of dementia, alzheimer's or forgetfulness, but it may also be the result of something much more sinister. If you suspect abuse, look for fluctuations in payments or collection efforts for unpaid bills.
2. Lack Of Trust
If your loved one has lost trust in you, or in close family members and friends, they may be experiencing some form of abuse. Seniors who experience elder abuse often have feelings of shame and embarrassment that cause them to withdraw from family and friends. Look for behavioral changes if you believe your loved one is being abused.
3. Forged Signatures
Older adults may often trust family members and caregivers to perform essential activities in their homes. Unfortunately, this gives abusers the opportunity to sign documents for their own financial gain. If you suspect that someone is taking advantage of your loved one, review their signed documents, checkbooks, and other financial documents and compare signatures and dates. Unfamiliar penmanship, signs of retouching (such as whiteout), and printed signatures may help confirm suspicions.
4. Unexpected Changes in Financial Situation
Be on the lookout for unexpected changes in their financial situation. If a loved one’s bank balances change drastically, it could signify that someone else is making use of their funds or property.
Common red flags may include massive withdrawals from the victim’s account, multiple checks being written for suspicious items, credit card charges for random items or someone else’s use and regular fund transfers to unfamiliar accounts. Check your loved one’s bank accounts to catch any of these tell-tale signs of financial abuse.
Change Of Names In Documents
The last sign of financial elder abuse to watch for is the change of names in essential documents such as social security information, bank statements, credit cards, investment accounts, home deeds, power of attorney, trusts and wills. A change in name on any of these documents can be a sign your loved one may be experiencing financial abuse, and you may need to act fast to safeguard them.
Looking For A Financial Elder Abuse Attorney In San Diego? Contact us Now
Elder abuse is illegal and can result in a legal action, either criminal or probate. If your elderly relative or friend has been a victim of financial abuse, we can help you seek legal recourse at Bellator Law Group. Contact us online or call us at (619) 232-8377 to schedule a consultation with an attorney.