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Types of financial abuse to which elderly are most susceptible

Sadly, some people will lie, cheat and/or steal in order to make money they didn't earn. They perpetrate scams, steal people's identities and more for financial gain. Even as technology and criminals become more sophisticated, some forms of financial abuse continue to work, especially on the elderly.

Anyone can unwittingly become the victim of a swindle or other financial fraud, but it is the elderly population of the country, including many here in Dallas, who end up the most susceptible to it. The last thing you want is for your aging loved one to become the victim of financial abuse. You may want to know what some of the most common types of financial abuse are in order to protect your loved one.

The most common financial abuse of the elderly

Below are examples of the scams and forms of financial abuse that people will perpetrate as they take advantage of a vulnerable population:

  • Someone they know and trust, such as close friends or relatives, could take advantage of that relationship and gain access to your loved one's personal information and/or accounts in order to get money. This type of person may also play on your loved one's feelings to extort money.
  • Of course, if that trusted person has power over your loved one's finances through a power of attorney, he or she could misuse that power for his or her personal gain.
  • Your loved one could receive an email, letter or some other communication indicating that he or she has won a lottery or can get in on a "good" investment but will need to pay a fee in order to receive winnings or take part in the investment. Someone will often send fake documents, including checks, as "proof," but the money or investment return never materializes.
  • Some scam artists know that older people are often lonely, so they strike up a friendship with him or her and spend months cultivating that relationship until your loved one trusts this person enough to provide personal information or money to him or her.
  • Some people will call your loved one, posing as an IRS agent or bill collector, and threaten to take some sort of legal action if he or she doesn't pay a certain amount right away.

If you happen to notice any financial changes that don't seem right, it could be due to some form of financial abuse. It could be something as simple as extra ATM withdrawals when you know your loved one doesn't get out much. In the alternative, you could notice property missing, unexplained property transfers or other indications that someone is most likely taking advantage of your loved one.

The sooner you take action, the better the chances are of saving your loved one's finances and property. You may also have the opportunity to hold the guilty party liable.

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