Aging can be a difficult process in which people become reliant on others for assistance. Unfortunately, the elderly often become targets for unscrupulous assailants who see them as easy targets for exploitation. The possibility of elderly victims of financial exploitation will likely rise given the increasing aging population.
The financial exploitation of the elderly cost elderly Americans nearly $3 billion in 2010. And while people may believe that it cannot happen to them, it is a vastly under-reported crime. The National Adult Protective Services Association reports that only one in 44 cases of financial abuse is reported. Common assailants of the elderly tend to include caretakers, family members, neighbors, friends, and acquaintances.
A Formula for Financial Exploitation
This article from Fox Business establishes a formula that people utilize when attempting to exploit elderly people. The article tells a story of an elderly 83-year old woman who was by herself, and whose daughter and son-in-law were unable to aid her because they lived in another state. Eventually, a seemingly nice couple befriended the old woman and performed helpful tasks, such as running errands and taking her to doctor’s appointments. However, the couple later tried to take money from her on several occasions. She refused each time. When the elderly lady died, the couple unsuccessfully tried to convince her daughter that the lady had promised to leave them a large amount of money in her will.
Protecting Your Loved Ones
It is important that you protect yourself or your loved ones from financial exploitation, and there are certain steps that you or your family should take to reduce the probability of being a victim of financial exploitation. For example, one should be aware of those who are befriending their loved ones, especially those upon whom their loved ones may be dependent. Ninety percent of elder financial abusers are family members or those in whom the victim has placed trust.
Additionally, another step that one should consider is discarding unnecessary credit cards. This article describes a caretaker who took advantage of her elderly patient with Parkinson’s disease. The caretaker charged more than $16,000 to her credit card. It was only after the patient’s son noticed the large bill that they discovered the caretaker’s scheme. Because the elderly woman was dependent upon her caretaker, she was unaware that the caretaker had intercepted the mail so that she would not see the bill. Thus, if you have a loved one that is dependent upon a caretaker, it may be in your loved one’s best interest that you also monitor their financial statements. Monitoring financial statements can assure people that caretakers or other family members are not charging their loved ones’ credit cards or withdrawing money from their accounts.
The skilled attorneys at the Appel Law Firm LLP have a great deal of experience in financial abuse of the elderly. If you or a loved one has been the target of financial exploitation, contact the Appel Law Firm today. We may be able to help you file a claim to recover the compensation that you deserve.