When scammers cast their nets for victims, they often target the elderly, whom they perceive as easy prey. But many senior citizens are defrauded out of their life's savings not by snake oil salesmen but by their own loved ones and relatives.
Spotting financial abuse of the elderly can be tricky, especially when the elderly person has a close familial relationship with the one who is exploiting them. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), 90% of fraudsters are either close friends or family members of their victims.
If you suspect fraud or financial exploitation may be going on, these are some red flags to look for:
The elderly person has little financial savvy.
If your grandmother always relied on her husband to handle the family's finances and he is now deceased, she may be especially vulnerable to financial manipulation by others.
The victim has been diagnosed with dementia or is otherwise experiencing diminished mental capacity.
It can be hard to accept that those who should be assisting their elderly relative are, instead, exploiting them financially for their own gain. But it happens every day right here in Colorado Springs.
If your elderly relative is being exploited, you may need to take the legal steps to become the person's guardian to end the abuse.
The victim is physically frail.
With age comes infirmity, and your loved one may no longer be able to climb ladders to clear out gutters or do strenuous yard work. Having to rely on service providers for these things can make them targets of unscrupulous individuals determined to separate them from their money.
Should you suspect that your elderly relative has been victimized financially, you may need to seek the counsel of an elder law attorney who can intercede on their behalf and protect their assets and resources from depletion.