Many older people who are the victim of financial elder abuse don’t want to talk about it and end up taking little or no action. This can be because of shame or embarrassment, or because they believe if it becomes known, they will lose some of their freedom and independence. Because of this if you believe someone is the victim of financial elder abuse, you should approach them calmly and without judgement.
One way to start the conversation is: “I’m worried that you may be a victim of financial elder abuse. May I ask you a few questions about your finances?”
Some questions to ask to learn more, and determine if someone may be a victim of financial elder abuse include:
- Who manages your finances? How has this been going lately?
- Do you run out of money at the end of the month?
- Do you question or regret any recent financial decisions?
- Have you given power of attorney to anyone? Do you know what they are doing with your money?
- Have you noticed any money missing from your accounts?
- Has anyone asked you for money? Has anyone approached you with questionable investment opportunities?
If you determine someone is the victim of financial elder abuse get help right away. Contact their financial institutions and adviser to check accounts and obtain a history of recent transactions and balances. Review everything and make a note of anything you believe is suspect or may have been done without authorization. If you think something illegal may have occurred, contact your securities regulator and your local police.