Elder Financial Abuse: Recognizing & Preventing Exploitation

A woman's hand holding a black wallet with coins in it.
December 19, 2023

Elder financial abuse is a rapidly growing concern throughout the country, particularly in Southern California. This form of exploitation manifests in numerous ways, from unauthorized use of an elder’s funds to sophisticated online scams. This post seeks to raise awareness about elder financial abuse, its signs, and the legal measures available for protecting the elderly.

Prevalence of Elder Financial Abuse

The AARP reports that adults over 60 in the U.S. lose an estimated $28.3 billion a year to financial exploitation, with the vast majority falling victim to someone they know. The same report found that 87.5% of seniors who are victimized by someone they know never report the incident or incidents to authorities.

These statistics highlight not only the shocking prevalence of elder financial abuse, but the necessity for loved ones to remain vigilant. Even elders who appear to be in good hands are often taken advantage of.

Common Scams Targeting Seniors

Elder financial exploitation can take many forms. In some cases, seniors fall for internet scams such as phishing or various imposter schemes. Elsewhere, abuse involves a financial advisor committing fraud, breaching their fiduciary duty or misappropriating funds. In yet other cases it may consist of a close friend or family member gaining access to and misusing bank accounts, investment accounts or other financial resources, or convincing the victim to transfer power of attorney or make changes to their last will and testament.

A man typing on a laptop with a warning sign on it.

Preventing Elder Financial Abuse

The first step towards preventing elder financial abuse is recognizing its signs. Common indicators include unusual bank account activity, sudden disappearance of funds or valuables, abrupt changes in wills or other financial documents, and unexplained transfers of assets to a family member or acquaintance.

While it is important for potential victims to learn how to spot the signs of abuse, it is equally important for the people around them to be educated. Cognitive decline and other effects of aging sometimes make it harder for elders to recognize when they are being targeted by a scam. Often it is loved ones, not the victims themselves, who notice unusual activity and realize that something is amiss.

Nationwide Elder Financial Abuse Attorneys

If you suspect that you or a loved one has fallen victim to elder financial abuse, Girard Bengali, APC, may be able to help. We have a long track record of successfully representing victims of fraud and other forms of financial abuse, and we’re committed to fighting for your rights. You deserve a knowledgeable and aggressive advocate who will ensure that you get the outcome you deserve. Contact Girard Bengali, APC, today to schedule a free consultation and learn about your options.

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