Key Warning Signs of Elder Financial Abuse

June is Elder Fraud Awareness Month, and if you have elderly parents or people you care about, it’s important to minimize their risk of financial hardship. Almost any older individual can be vulnerable to financial abuse: that is, someone taking advantage of a relationship to steal money, belongings, etc.

Elderly people often see an increased number of messages from scammers. Here are a few warning signs of potential financial abuse:

  • Large or unexplained withdrawals
  • Insufficient funds or unpaid bills
  • Fearful behavior related to finances
  • Signature looks different on forms or checks

Below are additional tips to help protect an elderly individual you care about.

Pay close attention to sudden changes

Keep a close eye on any new relationships or friendships, especially if a bond forms quickly. Talk with them about their intentions of the relationship and how they met that person. If this new person is suddenly making big financial decisions for the person you care about, you could be dealing with possible exploitation. Even if that person is a familiar face, consider bringing in another family member or close friend to help evaluate and handle the situation.

Remind them to keep personal information private

Bank account information, social security numbers and additional personal data are all important factors in protecting someone’s identity. For any elderly person’s financial well-being, keep their checkbooks, statements, and other financial information in an accessible, but secure place. If you are their power of attorney or have joint access to their bank account(s), consider taking further steps such as maintaining a relationship with their bank.

If a power of attorney is not on their account(s), talk with them about establishing a trusted individual to help ensure their money is being handled properly (if they are not able to do so themselves). Cinfed offers a Trusted Contact Form to protect their account as well as a Trust & Wills Estate Plan to ensure their family’s future is secure.

If you believe a loved one or elderly person you care about could be a victim of financial abuse, contact a Cinfed representative at your nearest branch location.