Older woman sitting on a couch with her hands folded

Financial Elder Abuse — How to Stay Protected

It’s a more than billion-dollar scheme happening every year. And while it may not make the same type of headlines as Ponzi schemes or other types of financial crimes do, it is something that is committed far too often.

The cybersecurity research company, Comparitech, reported in 2020, there were 8.68 million cases of financial elder fraud costing elders $113.7 billion. The number of cases grew by about 10% from the previous year.

While many may believe that strangers of elders mostly commit this type of crime, that is not the case. In fact, the U.S. Government Accountability Office completed research noting that guardians of elders were the most likely to commit financial elder abuse.

Thankfully, there are steps elders can take to ensure their money is protected.

Securing a Trusted Person Sooner Rather Than Later

If you have financial assets that can easily be accessed, it’s essential to take measures to protect them and only give limited access to a trusted person. Deciding who the trusted person should be is also a task that should be handled sooner rather than later. Contracting this responsibility to someone you trust, while you’re still able to make financial decisions on your own, will give you the most peace of mind.

Many elders also choose not only to have one trusted person but rather two individuals aware of their financial assets. This way, one person can be the designated guardian while the other person holds the guardian accountable for any actions they make take.

Along these lines, having financial assets in a secure account that you and your trusted person can only access is extremely beneficial. Many financial institutions can also be instructed to give limited access to other individuals (such as your trusted person) that would not include the ability to make transactions.

A similar option to this is also known as view-only access. Someone who has view-only access to an account can see when transactions occur but is legally not allowed access to the funds. Having a view-only option is usually a safer method than having a joint account.

Don’t Feel Pressured to Make a Quick Decision

A trusted person who truly has your best interests at heart will not force you to make any rash decisions. When it comes to signing important documentation, make sure you have time to review it and be cautious if someone says the paperwork needs to be finalized right away. If you feel uncomfortable about the language in a document, consult an attorney or other legal professional who can give you a clear understanding of what you’re signing.

Automate When Possible

A family member or other person may say they want to help ensure that your bills get paid on time. While they may have every intention of doing this, this can also be one way elders are scammed out of their money.

Many organizations have automatic bill payments available where these collections can be processed directly from a person’s bank account. By setting this up, you won’t have to worry about your money being used for other reasons or illegally by someone else.

Sign Up for Money Trackers

Several companies track spending from bank accounts, investments, credit cards, and more. Companies will send an alert if they see unusual activity or spending habits, allowing you to keep track of all your financial transactions from one spot.

Concerned About Financial Elder Abuse?

Whether it’s you or a loved one who is concerned about financial elder abuse, the dedicated attorneys at Weltz Law are here to help. During our more than 30 years of collective experience, our team has fought for those victimized by financial elder abuse.

If you are concerned about financial elder abuse, reach out to Weltz Law for a free consultation. (877) 905-7671