When one is providing senior home care in Bryn Mawr, many issues exist that affect the lives of senior loved ones. However, the problem of financial abuse – or financial fraud – is often overlooked, even though seniors lose billions of dollars every year to fraud.
In our previous Neighborly Home Care blog about senior financial abuse, we talked about the many causes of senior financial abuse. Now we will address prevention as well as helping seniors recover if they have been defrauded.
Sadly, much of senior financial abuse is perpetrated by family members or close friends. Such abuse can range from pressuring the elderly person into giving away money, to outright stealing from them in various ways, such as taking social security checks. The other most common form of financial abuse is a scam via telephone or email.
Remember: Even mild mental impairment can significantly impact a senior’s ability to recognize a scam.
Do some research through websites and entities that track common phone and email scams, such as the Federal Trade Commission, and show the results to the senior you are caring for. Educate them on common warning signs of a fraud call/email.
When possible, have your senior loved one give you permission to look at checkbooks and other accounts from time to time. Watch for any red flags, such as unexplained withdrawals or missing deposits. If you have any questions, gently ask them about the situation.
Watch for evidence of evasion in their answers. Many seniors may be too embarrassed to admit to victimization, at least at first, which is particularly true when a friend or family member is stealing from them.
The more time passes between the occurrence of a scam or theft and when official authorities get involved, the less likely the senior’s money will be recovered. Contact your local police and/or the National Adult Protective Services Association.
When the fraud was committed by someone you know, you may be tempted to confront him/her in person – which is a very bad idea. Confrontation can hurt your legal position, and in worst case scenarios the conflict could escalate unpredictably. Always have the police and a lawyer on your side before contacting the scammer to protect yourself and the senior you care for.
We care about seniors and provide skilled and compassionate senior home care in Bryn Mawr and other nearby communities. Contact us for elderly home care options.