Unfortunately, the exploitation of elderly people’s financial resources is a real concern these days. Freedom Debt Relief reviews of this issue reveal that elder fraud victims lose, on average, around $30,000 from things like scams, predatory products, or even abuse by a trusted family member or friend.
Approximately 1 in 5 elderly Americans have been the victims of financial fraud. Most of it occurs with individuals between the ages of 80 and 89. The majority of them are women. And a significant number of them are experiencing cognitive decline. Freedom Debt Relief reviews show that the elderly who are most at risk are those living alone, rely on other people to care for them or have limited social interactions with other people.
Signs of Potential Exploitation
If you are concerned about an elderly person that you know becoming a victim of exploitation or are worried that you are being scammed, Freedom Debt Relief reviews these top signs of possible exploitation:
- Out of the ordinary spending behaviors.
- Confusion over financial transactions.
- Unexplainable or sudden transfer of assets.
- Bills left unpaid that are normally taken care of.
- A new “friend” who is not looking out for the elder’s best interests.
These are some of the more common signs, but there are others. To help the elderly avoid this kind of exploitation, follow some basic guidelines like talking regularly with a trusted friend, advisor, or family member about finances. Using checks or credit cards could also help with avoiding some scams. And always use cause before sharing any personal financial information over the phone or internet.
Common Types of Scams
Freedom Debt Relief reviews of the various types of elder exploitation found that most scams have three main characteristics. There is usually a “hook” that catches your attention and can cause you to pay less attention to the details. Then there is a period of manipulation where scammers establish trust with their victim. There may also be a strict deadline where you don’t have much time to decide.
Some of the most common scams include:
- Identity theft – When someone steals your personal information to gain access to bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial information.
- Telephone scams –Scammers may pretend to be a grandchild, relative, or someone from a well-known charity asking for money or financial help.
- Sweepstakes scams – With these scams someone may call pretending to be from a sweepstakes. If they ask you to pay taxes on your “winnings” via check or wiring money, this is likely a scam.
- Prescription and Health Care scams – These come in many forms but are often about healthcare “discounts” requiring you to give someone your Medicaid number.
- Home improvement/repair scams – In these cases, someone may offer to do some sort of work on your home, ask for a deposit, then do not perform the job.
Exploitation from a Trusted Person
Sometimes the exploitation occurs from someone that the elder knows and trusts. This could be a family member, friend, or caregiver. Freedom Debt Relief reviews show that it is family members who often commit a large portion of this type of abuse. Sometimes they may even threaten to put the elderly person in a nursing home if they do not cooperate or isolate them from other family members who could become aware of what is going on. It may be a good idea to hire a financial advisor or have a third party look over financial information as a protective measure. And always use a certified agency when hiring caregivers.
If you feel that you are being exploited or know someone who is, contact the local government agency in your state that handles adult protective services.