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Protect Those You Love: Recognizing and Preventing Elder Financial Abuse

October 16, 2023

October brings a dedicated financial focus on many critical financial concepts, including financial planning, estate planning, and long-term care planning. The rising incidence of elder financial abuse is one pressing concern that weaves throughout those concepts and demands our constant vigilance. Recognizing the signs of elder abuse is crucial in preventing and combating this issue. We wanted to share signs to be aware of so we can all protect our parents, grandparents, or other elders who need protection.

Elder financial abuse takes various forms, ranging from subtle manipulation to outright theft. One common red flag is a sudden change in financial behavior or significant transactions that seem unusual. Be vigilant for unauthorized withdrawals, beneficiary changes, or unexplained financial gifts. If you notice such discrepancies, it is imperative to investigate promptly and take steps to prevent fraud.

Another telltale sign is social isolation. Perpetrators often exploit the loneliness of seniors, establishing undue influence and manipulating them into financial decisions against their best interests. Be sure to keep your elders connected with your trusted circle, and be wary of individuals attempting to isolate them from family and friends.

Furthermore, be cautious of unsolicited offers or requests for personal information. Scammers often pose as reputable organizations or family members, attempting to extract sensitive details for fraudulent activities. Coach the elders in your life to always verify the legitimacy of such requests before providing any information.

If you hold financial responsibility for any elders in your life, regularly reviewing their financial statements and accounts is a powerful preventive measure. This ensures that you can identify and address any irregularities promptly. If something seems amiss, immediately report the issue to their financial institution.

By staying informed, maintaining open communication with loved ones, and promptly addressing irregularities, you can protect those you love against elder financial abuse. Remember, financial security is a shared responsibility; together, we can safeguard the future of those we love.