Financial abuse is tragically not uncommon among elderly individuals. Such exploitation can take many forms, including through investment or lottery schemes, forged checks, identity theft, stolen goods and more. Perpetrators can range from scammers or con artists to sadly those the victim knows well, including family members, neighbors or caregivers.
What makes some elderly individuals vulnerable to financial abuse or exploitation? Here are a few factors:
A lack of physical strength or mobility can make a person more vulnerable to financial abuse. Seniors in a diminished physical state often have service providers (maintenance personnel, repairmen, landscapers, etc.) come into their homes. In some situations, a service provider may seek to take financial advantage of the elderly customer with grossly inflated bills or monthly agreements for unneeded services.
Just as a decline in physical health can leave elderly individuals vulnerable to exploitation, a decline in mental or cognitive health can also put elderly people at risk. Cognitive decline can be attributed to general aging or more serious conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. When cognitive decline sets in due to a variety of reasons, older adults can become susceptible to financial exploitation, especially when tasks like paying bills or managing bank accounts become challenging to do alone.
When a retiree lives far from relatives and does not have friends who regularly check in, their isolation can provide an opportunity for a stranger to step in and befriend them for purposes of financial exploitation. In cases in which a vulnerable senior is isolated, it can be especially important for family members to track their loved one’s spending and expenses to ensure no one is taking advantage.
Please remember that in cases of financial elder abuse, you can contact an experienced attorney who can help recover damages.