No one wants to learn that their senior parent or loved one living alone while receiving elder care in their home has been financially exploited by scammers. But, for some 5 million Americans each year that is an unfortunate reality.
One financial services firm estimated that the elderly lose about $36.5 billion a year due to financial exploitation, but others believe that number maybe grossly underestimated.
One study in 2014 even reported that almost 60 percent of cases involved a family member as the perpetrator.
Often, elderly victims have some level of impairment with their cognition which makes figuring out the truth of the situation difficult for the children of aging seniors who require some type of elder care at home.
The unfortunate reality of senior fraud and the financial exploitation of the elderly is that once it occurs, it is incredibly rare for any funds to be returned to the victims. That’s why it is so imperative to be vigilant in watching for signs that your senior parent or loved one may be the victim of fraud.
Signs to look for:
- Keep an eye out for unpaid bills, notices of termination of utility services, or eviction notices.
- Be wary of any new best friends or workers who have developed a sudden personal or business relationship with your senior.
- Look for large, unexplainable bank withdrawals, frequent fund transfers, or unusual ATM activity, especially if the senior cannot explain it.
- Make a list of the account statements that normally come to your seniors home in the mail so that you can be aware of any that stop coming, which could indicate an address change or other fraudulent activity.
- Take notice of any property or belongings, especially items of value, that are missing.
- Look for suspicious signatures on checks or other possibly forged documents.
- Watch for a sudden interest in making monetary donations to a specific charity.
- Look for an increase in unrecognizable incoming or outgoing phone calls.
- Be wary of unusual credit card purchases or cash advancement activity.
Talking to your senior about elder fraud and becoming familiar with their financial accounts and activities are some ways that you can hopefully diminish their chances of falling prey to scammers.
If your senior parent is living at home alone and you suspect that they have been a victim of financial exploitation or are concerned that they would be a good target in the future, one way to be sure that your senior is supervised and never left alone is by hiring an elder care company to provide professional caregivers to assist your senior during times that you cannot be there to help.
There are hotlines and organizations set up to take reports on suspected financial exploitation, so check online to see where you can report to in your state.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elder care in Mountain View, CA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers today (408) 259-5930.