Elder financial abuse can be a complicated subject, but at its most basic level it involves taking advantage of an older adult through manipulation or intimidation to steal their money or property.
Elderly adults are some of the most vulnerable to financial abuse. Some of the biggest risk factors for older adults include:
Isolation can cause extreme loneliness in seniors, leaving them desperate for any sort of social connection. Many abusers target elder adults for this reason.
Lack of knowledge of financial matters
Elder adults who don’t pay much attention to or don’t understand financial issues can be tricked into giving over secure information.
Whether the older adult has a physical or mental disability, they are dependent on others to take care of themselves. This leaves them vulnerable to manipulation and intimidation by caregivers. Disability can also make an elder adult seem less likely to take action against the abuser.
Who is most likely to abuse?
Unfortunately, abusers are rarely unknown to the abused. In fact, those who are most likely to abuse are the ones who are closest to the elder individual or someone that he or she trusts. The most common financial abusers include:
Family members can have different motivations for committing financial abuse. They may feel entitled to their relative’s money or property, especially if they are due to inherit from the elder or are in a caretaking position.
A caretaker can be a family member or someone who is paid to provide care to an older adult in the elder’s own home. As such, a caretaker is the person who has the most access to the elder.
Professionals are people that elder adult depends on to take care of the things he or she is not capable of handling alone anymore. These services can range from attorneys to someone your relative hires to take care of the lawn. Abusers can take advantage of older adults by overcharging for services or manipulating them into signing documents that they don’t understand.
Scammers and con artists
Some predators prey specifically on elder adults, counting on their social isolation and lack of knowledge about financial matters to be able to gain access to their victim and their financial assets.
What types of financial abuse exist?
Financial abuse can take different forms, depending on the relation of the abuser to the elder adult. Common tactics include (but are not limited to):
• Theft of money or property
• Using manipulation or intimidation to force him or her to sign legal/financial documents
• Forging his or her signature
• Telemarketing and email scams
How can you prevent financial abuse of elders?
The best thing that you can do to prevent elder financial abuse is to keep your older relative or friend from being isolated. Check in regularly, make sure you know who has access to him or her, and know the signs of financial abuse. Keep an eye out for suspicious signatures on checks, suddenly unpaid bills, and new and unexplained “friends.” By knowing the signs, you can help prevent the financial abuse of your loved one.
Investment Advisory Services offered through Retirement Wealth Advisors (RWA), a Registered Investment Advisor. Pennsylvania Wealth Management and RWA are not affiliated. Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
This information is designed to provide general information on the subjects covered, it is not, however, intended to provide specific legal or tax advice and cannot be used to avoid tax penalties or to promote, market, or recommend any tax plan or arrangement. Please note that Pennsylvania Wealth Management and its affiliates do not give legal or tax advice. You are encouraged to consult your tax advisor or attorney.
Annuity guarantees rely on the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurer. Any comments regarding safe and secure investments and guaranteed income streams refer only to fixed insurance products. They do not refer, in any way, to securities or investment advisory products. Fixed insurance and annuity product guarantees are subject to the claims‐paying ability of the issuing company and are not offered by Retirement Wealth Advisors.
Million Dollar Round Table (“MDRT”) is a membership organization. Qualifying criteria for membership includes attaining specified levels of commissions earned, premiums paid or income earned on the sale of insurance and other financial products. MDRT membership requirements include the payment of annual dues, compliance with ethical standards, and maintaining good standing with an MDRT-approved professional association. The MDRT logo and/or trademarks are property of their respective owners and no endorsement of Jason Bergey or Pennsylvania Wealth Management is stated or implied. MDRT and Retirement Wealth Advisors, Inc. (RWA) are not affiliated.