Preventing Financial Elder Abuse

An individual in a position of authority that takes advantage of a person’s age with the intent to defraud can be regarded as a perpetrator of financial elder abuse. 

According to The National Center on Elder Abuse, one in ten seniors has reported being abused, neglected or exploited within the last year. Sadly, 90% of abusers are family members or trusted acquaintances.  

Financial elder abuse can take many forms, including telemarketing scams, fake charity donations, loans, identity theft, and high pressure tactics to make purchases on behalf of the abuser.

Common signs of financial exploitation include:

  • Unexpected changes in bank account balances or banking habits
  • Unauthorized or unexplained account withdrawals
  • Unanticipated transfer of assets to a family member or friend
  • Sudden changes to a will or other important financial documents
  • Gift card purchases in large amounts and/or quantity

Family, friends, financial institutions and members of the merchant community can all play a part in helping protect the elderly from financial exploitation. 
Have a conversation with the family member and ensure a strong support system is in place

Encourage protection of personal information:

  • Don’t carry around social security numbers, PINs or passwords
  • Don’t share personal information with anyone, even if they claim to be from a government agency or a bank
  • Regularly check bank accounts and review financial records
  • Consider training store cashiers and front line staff on identifying signs of elder abuse fraud; post educational resources near gift card display racks

Educate cardholders on various elder abuse scams
More information can be found by visiting: https://ncea.acl.gov/

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