Spotting elder financial abuse

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Financial abuse can be a devastating form of elder abuse. If you're concerned about an older friend or relative, here are some things to consider.

To spot financial abuse, look for sudden changes in the older person’s financial situation, such as:

  • Suspicious changes in wills or powers of attorney – Out of the blue, your grandfather wills all of his belongings to his new nurse.
  • Financial activity the person couldn’t have done herself – You discover repeated ATM withdrawals from your bedridden mother’s bank account.
  • Bills not being paid – When visiting a neighbor, you see mail piling up on his desk. Maybe his caregiver is using his money for something other than paying bills.
  • Significant withdrawals or unusual purchases – You notice charges for fancy electronics on your thrifty aunt’s credit card bill.

If you see these signs and you’re worried that someone’s misusing a loved one’s personal information, explains what steps to take. 

Often, older adults are in the best position to recognize and prevent elder abuse and scams. That’s why the FTC’s Pass It On gives older adults tools to start conversations about scams and pass on their knowledge.

If you think you see elder abuse, report it. If there’s immediate physical danger, call 911. Otherwise, contact Adult Protective Services (APS). Your long-term care ombudsman may be able to help too, if the older person lives in a nursing home or assisted living. And if the financial abuse involves a scam, tell the FTC

For more resources about elder abuse prevention, check out the federal government’s Eldercare locator.



I believe this is what happened to my parents. They have passed.

Thank you for the good advice.

Great information but people should be prepared for the authorities to drag their feet or not investigate at all. They are overworked and underfunded. Any case that is not as obvious as the nose on your face is likely to be filed in the circular file.

Isn't that something I'm going through the same exact thing. Authorities and government officials can't seem to take a report from me in order to forward this issue with elder financial and mental abuse on my father to catch this quote quote caretaker. NO HELP WHATSOEVER FROM POLICE, FBI, CIA, FTC,DMV,IRS ETC...List goes on. Unbelievable system we have here. Who's running the show? Them(criminals)or Us,(victim)

It is surprising how these creeps get into your life and take over, completely.

I get calls from a women named amy telling me I was selected for a $9.000 grant to do with what I want. she gave me an id #jk784 and a phone #360 2006835 and told me to call they were expecting my call. I dialed the number and got a recording telling me the person I am trying to reach wasn't available. I knew it was a scam but wanted to collect all the information I could. I didn't try again. when I asked why I was selected she told me 1600 were selected from my area and I was one it was because I paid my taxes and had not filed a bankruptcy in the past two years and had no criminal record. my ftc case number is 64044441. this is additional information. I am 76 years old.

Thanks to the FTC for their sensitive informations all the time, but scammers cannot try me because they have been trying me but am smatter like them interms of misleading others, perhaps am a professional in detection fraudulent act.

Appreciate your article. I live 1100 miles from my parents, speak to them weekly, visit frequently and now have additional 'things to look for' regarding their financial affairs. Thank you

A electronic withdrawal was taken from my checking account last week! I'm computer savey have security eveywhere I'm stunned! My SS check missing 300 dollars now! That's a hard hit.

Senior financial exploitation can take many forms; from a caregiver taking senior’s money or using their bank cards to pay for personal expenses, to abuse of a power of attorney, to providing questionable advice with respect to protecting financial assets. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day gives us the opportunity to raise awareness and encourage all New Brunswickers to speak up to end the stigma surrounding these issues and report it when they witness or suspect abuse happening in their communities.

Is there anything else that is not a standard language in NY Metropolitan area of your expertise that's Mexican & Columbian with a few Spanish wording? My Elders have been exposed to a new phone message scam involving these different types of languages and.dialects??I'M WELCOMING ANY AND ALL THAT YOU CAN OFFER. THANKS, JULIA

If the abuse if from someone who is known to the senior citizen, contact your local Elder Abuse organization or Adult Protective Services organization. Every state has a Department on Aging and every Department on Aging has an Elder Abuse or Adult Protective Services department.

If the abuse is perputrated my a family member local law enforcement won't do squat if the victim won't committ to prosecute!

You can also report elder abuse to people who work in aging services.

Use the federal government’s Eldercare locator webpage to find an agency in your area.

Thanks Lisa for this great article on Financial abuse.
Its really astonishing and horrible how people take advantage of senior citizens!! It's usually best to find an elder abuse attorney when things like this take place.

Luckily no one in my family has ever been a victim of this type of abuse but it really is running rampant these days!!
Thanks a lot for the great read!

My cousin/Godmother who is 94, has been taken advantage of due to her diminished mental capacity, but she is not totally incompetent no one will help us. A a non family member who used undue influence convinced her to sign a POA. Now he has isolated her and told her no one but the agent cares about her. The family has contacted every agency (APS, Prosecutor, Attorney General, FBI, Lawyers) we can think of an no one will help us because she signed the POA. I agree and have experienced what CARES in KY stated and the authorities have done nothing to help us. Everyone we talk with agree that something is going on with Rose and her finances but it is too complicated and no one will take this on. They are overworked and underfunded. We were told by the prosecutors office that they see there may be a problem but because it is not obvious they will not pursue it.

Professional kidnappers?

my elderly father has been sending check and cash to 3scammers different states at same time.he refuses to can I stop them.

You may find helpful information in the blog post we issued on Wednesday, June 15 -- World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – Playing a part in prevention.

What on earth does a victim do when APS tells the crook who took the elder's money not to speak to the police? We have this documented in a police report but can't get a new APS worker because everyone at APS seems to want to make excuses and cover it up.

I know someone that has been using their stepdad money. They lie to them and say their roommate didn't pay a bill. They use the money and go out to eat and buy themselves gifts. What can I do. These older people are in their 70's

You could talk the older person, and ask if they want help, or ask them if they want you to call Adult Protective Services in your area. Adult Protective Services is a social services agency and staff can look into situations where an older person is being taken advantage of.

You can search for Adult Protective Services and other support and help for older adults on It's a government website from the U.S. Administration on Aging.

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