What Is Financial Elder Abuse?
Financial elder abuse is defined as a situation where someone takes advantage of an elderly adult for unfair monetary gain. In many cases, offenders have close access to the elderly individual’s financial assets and can include family members, close friends, neighbors, business partners, and caregivers. In some instances, offenders can even be complete strangers.
Common Types of Financial Elder Abuse
Financial elder abuse occurs in many ways. Almost all cases involve some type of trickery, fraud, deceit, or unauthorized use of a person’s assets. Some of the most common ways this type of abuse occurs are as follows:
- Identity theft. Identity theft often occurs when someone steals private property like a wallet or a purse from an elderly individual. Alternatively, the offender may obtain personal information like account numbers, social security numbers, or bank account details from private documents. Often the offender will illegally access the victim’s personal accounts, or they may use the victim’s information to impersonate the older adult.
- Real estate fraud. Real estate fraud occurs when an offender coerces an elderly adult into selling their personal property or land for far less than its fair value. In some cases, family members attempt to talk an older adult into giving away a home upon entering a senior living facility or nursing home.
- Violence or threats to obtain assets. In some cases, offenders will threaten violence towards an older adult to obtain access to money or financial accounts. In some cases, an offender will threaten to withhold care or basic needs from the older adult until they meet the demands. This situation most often occurs in cases where the elderly individual is physically disabled or has cognitive impairment.
- Stolen or forged checks. Stolen checks or account information can slowly drain the elderly individual’s accounts over time or may result in one large withdrawal. In some cases, if a caretaker or family member oversees sorting mail, an offender can endorse and cash checks in the elderly individual’s name.
- Internet scams. Internet scams have recently increased in the Placer, CA area. Many older adults are not fully aware of internet protocols and may not be computer savvy enough to identify suspicious or scam-containing emails. In most cases, the perpetrator will manipulate the victim into turning over personal information like credit card numbers, social security numbers, and financial information.
- Investment fraud. Elderly investment fraud usually involves a friend or family member manipulating the older adult into a high-risk investment deal that is dangerous to their financial status. However, the investment may lead to the offender’s financial gain.