Elder Fraud and Abuse
Unfortunately, over the past few years, our elderly population has become an easy target for abuse. Abuse comes in many forms. If you suspect someone is a victim of physical harm or abuse, you should contact your local law enforcement agency immediately or Adult Protective Services to start an investigation.
There is another abuse that’s much more difficult to detect – fraud and financial abuse. Honest Seniors have become the targets of scams in many different ways. While it is admirable that more Seniors are learning to embrace cell phones, the internet and social media; these platforms can be the gateway for theft of their money, identity and property by complete strangers posing as people with authority.
Scams can range from threats to shut off utilities, to paying bail for a family member to be released from jail as well as the old favorite international lottery.
However, financial abuse and fraud can originate closer to home. Those closest to an elderly person have access to them. This means they become familiar with their habits, finances and with whom the senior interacts on a daily basis. People with access and designs on stealing a seniors assets could be family members, service provider and even caregivers. So, it’s important to know who the senior is dealing with and what kind of access to information that person has and whether he or she is exercising influence over the senior.
While frequently once the money has been lost, it is difficult to recapture. However, there are ways to reduce exposure for senior fraud if you suspect it is about to occur or is ongoing. In addition, if this situation is ongoing, it may mean the senior has diminished capacity which triggers the need to prepare a comprehensive eldercare plan to address a myriad of issues the person will face over the remaining course of his or her life and after death.