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Elder Abuse

Many seniors are trusting to a fault, and most aren't aware of the sophisticated scams and technologies used by today's criminals. Those who perpetrate crimes against the elderly include both family members and predatory individuals. At-risk adults are vulnerable to illegal or unethical exploitation targeting funds, property or other assets. Financial exploitation typically involves one of the following:
  • Theft of Income. Typically involving less than $1,000 per transaction, this is the most common form of financial exploitation and fraud.
  • Theft of Assets. This type of fraud is typically more extensive, and often involves abuse associated with Powers of Attorney, real estate transactions, identity theft or tax manipulation.

Watch for these red flags:

  • A signature that seems forged, unusual or suspicious.
  • Out-of-sync check numbers.
  • Allegations of "missing funds" from a vulnerable adult's account.
  • A vulnerable adult who fails to understand recently completed transactions or the repercussions of his or her actions.
  • Credit union or credit card statements sent to an address other than the vulnerable adult's home.
  • Unusual cash withdrawals from a checking account in a short period of time.
  • Abrupt increase in credit card activity or a sudden flurry of "bounced" checks.
  • ATM activity in the vulnerable adult's account, even though he or she is physically unable to leave home.
  • Abrupt and unexplained change in a financial Power of Attorney, new names added to signature cards, or a new joint account.
  • Sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to a vulnerable adult's affairs and possessions.
  • A caregiver who appears to be getting paid too much or too often.
  • Change in the vulnerable adult's appearance (disheveled hair or clothes, or a lack of hygiene).

Report abuse immediately.

To report elder abuse contact the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.

The person who answers the phone will refer you to a local agency that can help. The Eldercare Locator answers the phone Monday through Friday, 9 am to 8 pm, Eastern Time.

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