What are the signs of elder abuse?

As people age and enter their senior years, they may become vulnerable to different types of abuse; however, one type that is seldom reported is financial manipulation. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, fewer than 2% of these types of abuse cases get reported due to the mental frailty of the victim, who may not realize the crime until it is too late or because he or she is too embarrassed to admit they fell victim to a scam.

Those who have elderly family members may want to learn the signs of elder financial abuse so they can prevent or report any suspicious activities to the local authorities.

Missing checks

Those who practice this type of abuse may steal checks from an elderly person, fraudulently sign that person’s name or coax an elderly person into signing a blank check. If checks go missing and an elderly family member cannot account for them, it is wise to set up an automatic payment system for bills and other financial needs so paper checks are no longer necessary.

Sudden cash withdrawals

Unexpected cash withdrawals may occur for two fraudulent reasons. Either the elderly individual fell victim to some sort of scam or someone used his or her debit card without permission. Local scams are quite common and may include individuals posing as utility staff, fundraisers or salespeople. If an elderly person lives alone, family members may want to make them aware of these types of scams and encourage them to hide cash and ATM cards to protect them from anyone who enters the home.

It is wise to report elder financial abuse, even if the victim feels ashamed about the incident. Local, state and federal assistance is available, no matter the circumstances of the crime.

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