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- Socially withdrawn compared to normal activity.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.