Elder Financial Fraud

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Elder Financial Fraud

Elder Financial Fraud is projected to grow as the baby boomers age. This means educating yourself about taking preventive measures to secure your finances, detecting the signs that someone is targeting you for fraud, and resolving an incidence of fraud should you find yourself a victim. Wether you are elderly or are a caretaker, take precuation when it comes to your finances, here are some signs to look for:

New Acquaintances

Some items to consider:

  • Consider the circumstances under which you build a new friendship. How did this person enter your life, and what are they getting out of the friendship? Where is this person from, what does he/she do for a living, and who are his/her close friends or family?
  • A common ploy of fraudsters is to befriend you and increasingly gain your trust over time. You may eventually ask this new friend to come with you make a purchase at the grocery store, or to help you to order new bank checks. By gaining access to your trust and financial accounts, the fraudster may deplete your finances without your knowlege. Or, the fraudster may make you reliant on him/her and threaten to not assist you anymore or even harm you in order to get your money.

Friends and Family

Unfortunately, many Elder Financial Fraud cases involve family members.

  • A family member may be given the authority to make legal decisions for you and abuse that right. Do not put any one person in absolute control over your finances, and you will avoid being put in position of absolute dependence. Anticipate your needs over time and plan ahead.
  • Consult with an attorney about executing a Power of Attorney naming a person you know well and trust. This person may be an attorney, a family member, or a friend. Once executed, give your bank a copy of the Power of Attorney. Be sure to notify your bank of any changes to the Power of Attorney.
  • Sign your own checks and do not write out blank checks for anyone.
  • When seeking assistance with your finances, ask for help from more than one source in order to be sure that you getting an objective view. Should you have any questions, have your local bank representative help you to reconcile any discrepancies you have found.
  • When you are signing over money or property to anyone in exchange for your care, have an agreement written out and reviewed by your attorney.
  • Don't give out personal information over the Internet or telephone.

Merchants, Contractors, Landlords, and Others.

It is not uncommon for senior citizens to be tricked into paying higher prices for goods or even paying for services he/she never signed up for. A contractor may raise the price of work after starting. A landlord may increase your rent without following the proper legal procedures. Even when you said no to unsolicited offers to purchase magazines or enter sweepstakes by phone, in person, or by email, the goods appear along with a bill.

  • Educate yourself on the various fraud scams out there.
  • Before signing up for any service, get the agreement in writing and read it thoroughly. If you are approached with unsolicited services, it is probably best to say no.
  • Before hiring a contractor, check the validity of their contractor’s license. Never fully pay for work in advance of its completion.
  • If any of your service providers, such as your care providers or landlords, increase their charges, get an explanation in writing. By formally documenting their excuses you may discourage them from defrauding you at the risk of their losing their business license or facing other legal repercussions. No criminal wants to get caught.