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Preventing financial abuse of your aging parent

Most people regard elder abuse as physical harm i.e abused in nursing home etc. However, financial elder abuse is the exploitation of seniors to gain access to their property, investments, cash, or real estate.

Elder abuse includes identity theft, telemarketing cons, stealing Social Security checks from outdoor mailboxes, and fraud by unscrupulous contractors and financial advisers. However, it is not only the stranger but family members also are involved.

Here are some signs of exploitation:

  • Your parent has a new "best friend," becomes socially isolated, hesitant to contact unless the “best friend” is present.  
  • Unpaid bills – although someone has authority to pay them.
  • Missing property
  • Large or unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts.
  • Transfers to other unknown accounts.
  • Changes in banks or attorneys.
  • Bank statements no longer coming to your parent's home.
  • Unfamiliar signatures on checks.
  • Changes in spending patterns- buying jewelry, TV etc.
  • Lack of personal care, such as clean clothes and grooming etc.
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