Financial abuse is an issue that affects a lot of elderly people in North Carolina. Unfortunately, many elderly people are in the perfect position to get taken advantage of by scammers due to their declining cognitive function and lack of technology experience.
What is elder financial abuse?
Elder financial abuse is considered to be a form of domestic abuse when it involves a family member or a “friend.” When someone who is close to an elderly person gains access to their finances and uses that access to enrich themselves through fraud, this is financial elder abuse.
Caregivers and strangers using phishing scams can also financially abuse elderly people. Some risk factors that can make an elderly person more of a target for financial abuse include:
• Loneliness and isolation
• Mental or physical handicaps
• Lacking knowledge of assets
• Unwillingness to discuss money
• Lack of computer skills
Identify financial abuse
If you have a vulnerable elderly family member, you may be able to protect them from financial abuse by spotting the warning signs. Some of the obvious signs of financial abuse include unexplained missing money and unusual charges on bank statements. If bank statements are no longer coming in the mail like they used to, this is another sign that personal information might have been compromised.
When a new “best friend” suddenly appears in an elderly person’s life, this can be a warning sign that the elderly person is being targeted for financial abuse. Odd behaviors like opening mail without permission or asking to borrow a credit card should be looked at with suspicion. If someone with a drug or a gambling problem has become very close with an elderly person, there could be a potential for financial abuse.