How To Identify & Prevent Senior Fraud

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,449
    Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care explains how to identify and prevent senior fraud.

    Mary Alexander: Hi! I am Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care. Today I am talking about the kinds of senior financial scams and how to identify them.

    A 2011 MetLife Study on Elder Financial Abuse found that scams against senior fall into three types of crimes; occasion, desperation and predation. Crimes of occasion or opportunity are incidents of financial abuse that occur because the victim is in the way of what the perpetrator wants, usually money or assets.

    Crimes of desperation are typically those in which family members or friends become so desperate for money that they will do whatever it takes to get it. Many of these family members are dependent upon the elder relative for housing and money.

    Finally crimes of predation occur when trust is developed for this specific purpose of financial abuse. For example, a relationship is built either through a bond of trust created through developing a relationship or as a trusted professional advisor and then is used to financially exploit the senior.

    So how can you tell if you are seeing your loved one is falling victim to any of these crimes? According to the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse you should look for several indicators that some abuse has occurred, including unpaid bills, eviction notices or notices to discontinue utilities, unusual activity in bank accounts such as large withdrawals, frequent transfers or ATM withdrawals.

    Missing bank statements, new best friends, new legal documents or financial arrangements that the senior is unaware of, belongings or property are missing, suspicious signatures on checks and implausible explanations given about the senior's finances by him or herself, a family member, care giver or a friend.

    Do note that one of these factors alone does not indicate financial abuse. Rather, you should look for patterns or clusters of these indicators to determine if there is a problem.