Those who financially abuse older adults come from many sources. Unfortunately, one of the most common sources of elder financial abuse is from the victim’s family. Too often, a child or grandchild feels entitled to money. They justify their actions by reasoning that they will eventually get their inheritance, anyway. Or, a chronically struggling adult child gets hooked on parental support, and the “addiction” is difficult for both parties to break.
It’s important to watch for telltale warning signs. Especially as parents and grandparents age, they can become more vulnerable to financial abuse. Pay attention to subtle shifts in behavior and activity.
Common Warning Signs
Some of the most common indicators that someone is the victim of financial abuse are:
- Unexplained changes in spending habits
- Sudden payments made with cash
- Disappearing assets, including valuables, cash, or securities
- Changes to a trust, will, or beneficiaries
- Surrendering financial control to a new person
- Unexplained loans
- Fear or anxiety when talking about money or assets
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to initiate a conversation with the older adult to delve deeper. Sometimes victims might not be upfront. Perhaps they’ve been lulled into thinking that the perpetrator isn’t taking advantage of the situation. Or they might be ashamed or embarrassed by their actions.
Other Means and Sources of Abuse
There are other times when a stranger or acquaintance attempts to take advantage of a vulnerable senior. Their scams can include false notifications about winning sweepstakes or a family member in distress; posing as a home improvement contractor; or deception initiated through online dating services. Additionally, aging adults should be warned about the dangers that lurk on the internet and via online friendships.
Are you interested in learning more about scams and abuse targeted at seniors? Email info@SeniorSafeAndSound.org or phone 858-480-7551. Senior Safe and Sound.