Did you know that the average age of an investment fraud victim is in the high sixties? Did you know that 90% of abusers turn out to be family members and caretakers? The figures around financial elder abuse are unnerving. Incidences of financial elder abuse have increased by 150% over the last ten years, and only one in every six cases of such abuse ever gets reported. The internet is replete with stories of schemes of the ways that abusers convince the elderly to part with their hard-earned pensions and savings. America is aging fast. The number of elderly individuals in our country is growing faster than ever before, and that means that we have a lot of vulnerable Americans who are ripe for targeting by slick scammers who know just how to exploit them.
But there is hope. With projects like the Educating Seniors Project and friends of the agency who work with the California State Bar, we can all work together to protect our most vulnerable citizens from those who would take advantage of them. To start, consider some of the signs that financial elder abuse might be happening to you, or might be just over the horizon:
If you're noticing a break in the numbering in your checkbook and don't have a record of the check that was there, you might be compromised. Always make a note of your transactions in at least two separate places so you have a record of what was spent, and can easily identify it when (or if) someone is writing checks from your account without your permission.
Much like with missing checks, keep watch on your credit and debit cards. If you are worried that someone might use your cards without your permission, keep them hidden in a safe place where others cannot find them.
Read over your bank and credit card statements often to look for irregularities. If you see a transaction that you did not make, contact your bank or card company immediately to discuss your options with them.
Giving Too Much
If you have a caretaker or relative that keeps asking for things (or keeps taking things without asking) and you're afraid to speak up because of your reliance on them, then you are a victim of elder abuse. Document the signs, take notes and pictures and contact Adult Protective Services. If the abuse is severe or you suspect you are susceptible to more harm, you should call 911 immediately.
If you suspect (or know) that you are a victim of any kind of elder abuse, financial or otherwise, you should report it immediately. There is no shame in being a victim or in reporting it, even if the perpetrator is someone you consider to be a friend or relative. No one who truly cares about your well being would take advantage of you, and you owe it to yourself and those who love you to reach out and get help if you are being abused.
Ready to get protected? Rayo Law Offices Can Help:
Call (925) 825-1955 or contact Zachary Rayo online to set up an appointment for an initial “meet and greet” consultation.