St. George Village Blog
Avoid Financial Exploitation With These Tips
Posted on March 1, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Older Americans should know that while financial abuse is believed to cost seniors an estimated $3 billion annually, you can help prevent it and protect yourself.
Signs To Watch For
• You, family, friends or your bank notice financial activity you don’t recall, that is not consistent with your financial history or that is beyond your means.
• Your caregiver or beneficiary refuses to use your funds for necessary care and treatment or is threatening to place you in a long-term care facility unless you give him or her control of your finances.
• It appears that food or medication has been manipulated or withheld so you become weak and compliant.
Steps You Can Take
• If you feel threatened and believe you are in immediate danger, contact law enforcement.
• Talk with family members, friends and trusted professionals to plan your financial future. If managing your daily finances is difficult, consider engaging a money manager.
• Talk with a lawyer about creating a durable power of attorney for asset management, a revocable or living will, trust and health care advance directives.
• Never send anyone personal information to collect a prize or reward.
• Don’t be pressured or intimidated into quick decisions by a salesperson or contractor.
• Don’t sign any documents you don’t completely understand without first talking it over with an attorney or a family member you trust.
• Never provide personal information (Social Security, credit card, ATM PIN number) over the phone unless you placed the call and know with whom you are speaking.
• Tear up or shred credit card receipts, bank statements, solicitations and financial records before disposing of them.
• If you hire someone to help you in your home, be sure that person has been properly screened, with criminal background checks completed.
• If you suspect you or someone you know is being exploited, call (800) 677-1116 to get connected with the state Adult Protective Services or other appropriate aging resource.
For more information on financial exploitation, you can request a free brochure from the Eldercare Locator, “Protect Your Pocketbook: Tips to Avoid Financial Exploitation.” Call (800) 677-1116; the brochure can also be downloaded at www.eldercare.gov. The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging and is administered by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a).