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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)

Yes, police won't help. They label it a 'civil matter'. You are the police in this matter and can file a report as personal representative. (I compiled a report with timelines then sent it to the DA. He sent it to the Attorney General and we are in the waiting period to see if they will 'complaint' it. My Mother was completely robbed and then killed by my step-sister. My Mother had lost her memory and didn't know who to trust. She did not tell us what was happening to her over the phone.

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?

Exactly the same happened with my father. Not one person I contacted would step forward to help.

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.

Do you report financial exploitation on the elder to the local police?

You could contact local police, or call a local city or county aging service provider. You can look for your local agency on this federal aging website: or call 1-800-677-1116.

my father in law has memory issues since going thru cancer treatment, another family member {John}
had them move into his home, took control of all money, sold their home. now he wont show them where the money is, he gets angry when asked, he wont allow them to contact us. john gave my father in laws $60,000. truck to HIS son. John wont allow them access to their money. they have called my home when John isn't there and asked for us to help.. I reported this to DSH in Washington state, they went to interview my in laws. they asked the questions using johns wife as interpreter due to my mother in laws limited English. mother in law stated to us she couldn't say anything with johns wife there.. now I call DHS and they have no record of any of this.. we are afraid money may being taken and used for johns personal benefit. should we get police involved?

You could contact the Office of Aging in the county where your father in law lives. The federal government has a list of aging resources in communities at, or call 1-800-677-1116.  If you think someone is in physical danger you could call local law enforcement.

HORRIBLE! It Never Ends!

My relative was scammed out of a very large sum of money. Her financial advisor figured it was a scam, but says he could not stop her. Her money. Called Elder Abuse. No follow up. She cleaned out all her investments for a lottery scam. I found out months later and contacted police, FBI and Secret Service. No help from them. attorney says if she won't cooperate, I can do nothing but have her declared incompetent and file suit against huge banks that allowed it. We cannot afford to lose against corporate banking, so I have almost given up. Any suggestions?

You could contact the Office of Aging in the county where your relative lives. The federal government has a list of aging resources in communities at, or call 1-800-677-1116.  If you think your relative is in physical danger from scammers, you could call local law enforcement.

I have been a caregiver for my husband. Recently I was told I needed surgery. I started checking for a short term place for him while I recovered. His family stepped in and changed everything. They got him to sign them as POA. They have taken over all bank accounts we shared and one. He set up for me. He stated before witnesses that he wanted me to have that plus other things. They have changed the account and I HAVE LOST THE INCOME I was drawing from it. I am also concerned about him. What can I do?

You could contact the Office of Aging in the county where you live and ask about help for yourself. The federal government has a list of aging resources in communities at, or call 1-800-677-1116.  If you think your husband might be in physical danger you could call local law enforcement.

My dad is 88 and his wife 86. Recently, when his wife became terminally ill, her step daughter took over selling their home and placing them both in assisted living. I come to find out that only half the proceeds from their home are in an account jointly owned by my dad and his wife. The rest the proceeds are in an account with my step mom and her daughter who has been pulling all the strings. I have tried on three occassions to negotiate an agreement whereby ALL the assets are placed in joint ownership with my dad and his wife. She refuses to acknowledge this as an issue. So we are now contacting adult protective services. I fear that they are so backed up that there will be no resolution, my stepmom will die, and we will never recoup the proceeds from their home which we so desparately need for his care. They have nothing other than the equity from their home and it will go fast. You never think this can happen in your family but it most certainly does. I wish we had been more perceptive to see that she was isolating him from his children and making financial decisions that were not in his best interest.

Sue1954, did you find any successful ways to proceed? I need a hero! Every listing for who to report this type of abuse are the very "pros" that have robbed my elderly person.....of Everything..( millions), as well as threatened me. Even the caregiver is a textbook example of elder abuse. I'm afraid...but holding on. Thanks, A "Phriend"

Meridian trust 800 silks run suite 2330 hallandale beach fl is a bad company they took advantage of my senior 89 year old mother who vision and hearing is falling this is clearly elder financial abuse paying her only 1/2 what her house is worth

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