Exploring Financial Exploitation Of The Elderly
Financial exploitation of the elderly includes the misuse, mishandling, or exploitation of the property, possessions, or other assets of elderly adults. It also encompasses using an elderly person’s assets without consent, under false pretense, or through coercion and/or manipulation. This article will provide some instances of financial exploitation, the signs to look for, and how to report suspected cases.
What are some types of financial exploitation?
There are several different types of financial exploitation, which include the following:
- Theft: This type of exploitation can include taking an elderly person’s cash, valuables, medications, and other personal property without that person’s knowledge, consent, or authorization
- Fraud: This type of exploitation involves acts of dishonestly by people who are entrusted to manage assets but instead use these assets for unintended uses; this may include falsifying records, forgeries, unauthorized check-writing, and Ponzi-type financial schemes
- Real Estate: This type of exploitation involves the unauthorized sale, transfer, or change to property title or related estate documents
- Contractor: This type of exploitation includes situations where building contractors or handymen receive payment for building repairs but fail to actually initiate or complete these repairs
- Lottery scams: This type of exploitation involves persuading the elderly to make payments (or to transfer funds) in order to collect unclaimed property or “prizes” from lotteries or sweepstakes
- Technology: This type of exploitation includes “phishing” e-mail messages to trick the elderly into unwittingly surrendering important financial information, such as bank passwords or account information
- Mortgage: This type of exploitation includes advertising mortgage-related products which are unaffordable or out-of-compliance with regulatory requirements
- Investment: This type of exploitation includes taking money from the elderly to make investments without knowledge or consent
- Insurance: This type of exploitation involves sales of inappropriate insurance-related products, such as a thirty-year annuity for a very elderly person
What are some signs of financial exploitation to look out for?
If you suspect that a loved one is being financially exploited, there are some signs you should look out for:
- Vital utilities such as telephone, water, electricity, gas, or garbage have been terminated
- There are unpaid bills and liabilities despite adequate income
- Your loved one’s oversight of finances surrendered to others without explanation or consent
- Your loved one has been transferring assets to new “friends” who have begun assisting with his or her finances
- There are several checks written to “Cash”
- Your loved one does not seem to understand his or her current finances or offers improbable explanations
- There is an unexplained disappearance of cash, valuable objects, or financial statements
- There are unexplained or unauthorized changes to your loved one’s wills or other estate planning documents
- Your loved one is giving away a significant amount of money or is spending excessively
- Your loved one has received property liens or foreclosure notices
How can I report instances of financial exploitation in Massachusetts?
In order to report suspected financial exploitation in Massachusetts, you can:
- Call the Massachusetts Elder Abuse Hotline (1-800-922-2275)
- Contact your local Ombudsman office (for contact information on local Ombudsman offices, please visit the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Directory)
Contact our Law Firm for All of Your Elder Law Needs
Elder law issues can sometimes be difficult to navigate. If you need some additional help understanding these issues, Fisher Law LLC is here to help. Our firm has extensive experience in all areas of elder law and we will ensure that you have the proper resources to make the best decisions for your future. Contact our Norwood elder law attorneys for help today.