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Elder Abuse Awareness

Financial Exploitation Fraud is on the rise, learn how to identify the warning signs of financial abuse.

What are the Warning Signs of Financial Abuse?

The key to spotting financial abuse is a change in a person's establishes financial and behavioral patterns. Watch out got these "red flags":
  • Socially withdrawn compared to normal activity.
  • Unusual activity in an older person’s bank accounts, including large, frequent, or unexplained withdrawals.
  • ATM withdrawals by an older person who has never used a debit or ATM card.
  • Changing from a basic account to one that offers more complicated services the customer does not fully understand or need.
  • Withdrawals from bank accounts or transfers between accounts the customer cannot explain.
  • New “best friends” accompanying an older person to the bank.
  • An increase is electronic device (tablets, cell phones, computers) usage which could indicate communication with strangers in chat rooms using applications.
  • Sudden non-sufficient funds activity or unpaid bills.
  • Closing CDs or accounts without regard to penalties.
  • Uncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money.
  • Suspicious signatures on checks, or outright forgery.
  • Confusion, fear or lack of awareness on the part of an elderly person
  • Refusal to make eye contact, shame or reluctance to talk about the problem.
  • Checks written as “loans” or “gifts.”
  • Bank statements that no longer go to their home.
  • New powers of attorney the older person does not understand.
  • A caretaker, relative or friend who suddenly begins conducting financial transactions on behalf of an older person without proper documentation.
  • Altered wills and trusts.
  • Loss of property.

What Should You do if You Suspect Financial Abuse?

  • Talk to your aging friends or loved ones if you see any of the signs mentioned here. Try to determine what specifically is happening with their financial situation, such as a new person “helping” them with money management, or a relative using cards or credit without their permission.
  • Report the elder financial abuse to their financial institution and enlist their banker’s help to stop it and prevent its recurrence.
  • Contact Adult Protective Services in your town or state for help.
For more information, please contact the Risk Management Department at 607-936-8402 ext. 710.

Common Elder Fraud Scams

Criminals pose as interested romantic partners on social media or dating websites to capitalize on their aging victims’ desire to find companions.
Criminals pose as technology support representatives and offer to fix non-existent computer issues. The scammers gain remote access to victims’ devices and sensitive information.
A type of confidence scam where criminals pose as a relative—usually a child or grandchild—claiming to be in immediate financial or medical need.
Criminals pose as government employees and threaten to arrest or prosecute victims unless they agree to provide funds or other payments.
Criminals claim to work for legitimate charitable organizations to gain victims’ trust. Or they claim their targets have won a lottery or sweepstakes, which they can collect for a “fee.”
Criminals appear in person and charge homeowners in advance for home improvement services that they never provide.
Criminals target potential victims using illegitimate advertisements about legitimate services, such as reverse mortgages or credit repair
Relatives or acquaintances of the aging victims take advantage of them or otherwise get their money.