Financial Exploitation Part II: Signs and Symptoms of Elder Financial Abuse

When interacting with seniors, it is important to safeguard their dignity and maintain respect for both their life experience and their wisdom.  This can present a challenge for professionals and family members alike. On one hand, you want to include the senior in decision making processes however; there are times when they may be physically or mentally unable to participate. As such, seniors become less independent and more vulnerable to financial exploitation.

The Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Prevention Program (EIFFE Prevention Program) seeks to educate professionals who customarily work with senior citizens in recognizing when their clients may fall victim to financial abuse. The program pays particularly attention to support those patients with mild cognitive impairments and to refer these at-risk patients to get the appropriate help.

Many of the EIFFE Prevention Program modules can be useful for anyone in the community who has regular contact with seniors. For example, local police departments receive specialized training to recognize and address financial exploitation of seniors. Moreover, bank tellers, postal clerks, grocery cashiers, as well as friends and neighbors are distinctly positioned to be the first line of defense for vulnerable seniors.

Here is a partial list of signs and symptoms of elder financial abuse:

  • Sudden withdrawal of unusually large sums of money – often the senior is accompanied by an unfamiliar person
  • Unusual change in or inclusion of additional authorized names on the seniors bank account
  • Frequent and unauthorized ATM withdrawals from the senior’s bank account
  • Abrupt changes in the senior’s will and other financial documents
  • Mysterious disappearance of money or valuable possessions
  • Accumulation of unpaid bills despite the availability and sufficiency of funds
  • Discovery of the senior’s forged signature on financial transactions or titles of possession
  • Unexpected appearance of previously uninvolved relatives making claim to rights in the elder’s financial affairs
  • Unusual and sudden transfer of assets to a caretaker, family member or outsider
  • Sudden provision of unnecessary products or services

 

If you recognize any of these signs of abuse, file a report with Adult Protective Services or Area Agency on Aging. In Part III of this series, we will outline the common financial scams targeting elders. If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS (1-800- 474-4487) We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.