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Other Seniors: Avoiding Financial Exploitation
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Risk Factors — What to Look For

Do you suspect that your friend or family member is being exploited? Here are some things to look for:

Unusual Activity

Sudden changes in bank or credit card activity

Increased withdrawals or use of ATMs, checks made out to “cash,” etc.

New names on accounts

Unusual or frequent gifts to a caregiver or new friend

Sudden transfers of assets to a family member or non relative

Signing for a loan or refinancing a home

Inability to locate valuables, important papers, credit cards

Substandard care or unpaid bills, despite adequate resources

Lack of awareness of monthly income or recent financial arrangements

Questionable signatures on checks or legal documents (forgery potential)

Recent changes in doctor, lawyer, accountant, or other professional

Caregiver warning signs

Does the caregiver:

Say the elder is less willing or able to accept visits or calls?

Isolate or limit contact with family and friends?

Screen mail, phone calls, visitors, and outings?

Tell the elderly person that only the caregiver really cares for them?

Tell the elderly person that the caregiver is all that stands between the elderly person and the nursing home?

Seem overly concerned about the elder’s finances?

Often speak for the elder, even when the elder is present?

Have no means of support other than the elder’s income?

Risk Factors

Does the elder live alone? (Isolation and loneliness are greatest risk factor)

How many local friends does the elder have?

Does the elder have nearby family? Is there weekly contact?

Have the elder’s outside activities decreased?

Is the elder overly friendly and helpful - even to strangers?

Who regularly checks the elder’s bank and credit accounts and investments?

Where and from who is the elder getting financial and medical advice?

Who oversees the elder’s Power of Attorney?

Does the elder seek advice of fortunetellers, psychic advisors, or spiritual healers?

Changes in Estate Plans

A recent change in power of attorney, will or trust, especially if the elderly person has questionable ability to understand changes

A recent change in will or trust benefiting a new or younger friend

Recent change in life insurance beneficiary

Additional resources

Elder exploitation and should be reported to Texas Adult Protective Services

Cowles & Thompson