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10 Signs of Financial Exploitation

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Kathy Greenlee, assistant secretary for aging at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and head of the DHHS’s Administration for Community Living, estimates about four out of every 10 elders is financially exploited. Furthermore, the most common abusers are loved ones and people in positions of trust like advisors.

Greenlee encouraged any advisor who works with elderly clients to report suspected abuse to their local Adult Protective Services, their state’s long-term care ombudsman if the person lives in a nursing home or similar facility, or police.

Greenlee added that in most states, suspected abuse can be reported anonymously.

Any of these 10 signs may indicate financial exploitation, according to the National Center of Elder Abuse:        

1. Sudden changes in bank account or banking practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a person accompanying the elder.

2. Names added to an elder’s bank signature card.

3. Unauthorized withdrawal of the elder’s funds using the elder’s ATM card.

4. Abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents.

5. Unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions.

6. Substandard care being provided or bills unpaid despite the availability of adequate financial resources.

7. Discovery of an elder’s signature being forged for financial transactions or for the titles of his/her possessions.

8. Sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to an elder’s affairs and possessions.

9. Unexplained sudden transfer of assets to a family member or someone outside the family

10. Provision of services that are not necessary.


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