- December 2, 2012
Special guest post by:
Boomer Diva Nation member, Rosemary Horner
Please help spread the word about this critical campaign against financial elder abuse.
Washington, DC — As financial exploitation targeting older adults continues to become more prevalent in the United States, the national Eldercare Locator announced today that it has launched a campaign to encourage older adults and their families to address this critical issue and to get informed about the warning signs and resources available to help prevent exploitation. Research shows that as many as 5 million older adults are victims of elder abuse each year and financial exploitation costs seniors an estimated $3 billion annually.
The National Center on Elder Abuse has partnered with the Eldercare Locator to produce a consumer guide that is now available to help inform this discussion. Click this link to get a copy of the guide.
“Financial exploitation of older adults can take many forms and can come in many guises including telemarketing scams, identity theft, fake check scams, home repair fraud, and even “sweetheart scams” whereby a con artist befriends or romances an isolated lonely older adult to gain control over their finances. Unfortunately, financial exploitation can often be committed by a person you know and trust—a friend, caregiver or even a family member, which makes it even more difficult,” said Sandy Markwood, CEO, n4a.
“There are steps older adults and their families can take and resources available to help identify and remedy this serious problem. To ensure your safety and the safety and security of your finances, it is critical for you to assess your financial situation on a regular basis. We are seeing more and more financial abuse across the country which is why this holiday season, we hope families will check in with their older relatives to be sure that their finances are in good order and in good hands.”
Signs of Financial Exploitation
There are several signs of financial exploitation for families to look out for, including-
Financial activity that is inconsistent with an older adults past financial history;
Multiple withdrawals within a short time period;
Inconsistent signatures on documents;
Confusion about recent financial arrangements;
New names added to accounts or other changes to key documents that have not been authorized;
A caregiver or beneficiary who refuses to use designated funds for necessary care and treatment of an older adult and
An older adult who feels uncomfortable or even threatened by a caregiver or another individual who is seeking to control their finances.
Families that are concerned about financial exploitation should report the issue to state agencies that deal with protecting the safety and well-being of older adults. The campaign, which encourages older adults and their families to plan and be cautious, released tips to help prevent financial exploitation, some of which include:
–Consult with a trusted person before making any large purchases or investments.
–Do not provide personal information (i.e. Social Security number, credit card, ATM PIN number) over the phone unless you placed the call and know with whom you are speaking.
–If you hire someone to help you in your home, ensure that they have been properly screened with criminal background checks completed. Ask for certifications when appropriate.
–Talk with an attorney about creating a durable power of attorney for asset management; a living will; a revocable, or living, trust; and health care advance directives.
“Financial Exploitation can be prevented if people know the right questions to ask and where to turn for help, said Mary Twomey, Director, National Center on Elder Abuse. “Although it is a sensitive issue and one that can be difficult to broach, it is critical for families to address it, and there are many useful resources available to guide them through the process.”
About Eldercare Locator
The Eldercare Locator is the first step to finding resources for older adults in any U.S. community and a free national service of the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) that is administered by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a). Contact the Eldercare Locator at 800.677.1116 or the website Eldercare Locator.
November 2012 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Eldercare Locator, which has received more than 2.3 million calls since it launched in 1992 and assisted millions of older adults and caregivers connect with local aging resources.