7 Ways to Prevent Financial Elder Fraud & Abuse

There were 5 million cases of fraud and abuse, which resulted in $27.4 billion in losses.  More than 200,000 scams and financial abuse cases targeted the elderly.  Because more older people represent an increasing share of the US population, the issue will become more pressing.

In 1985, older adults were 11 percent of the population.  By 2010, that number was 13 percent or more than 40 million Americans.  By 2030, as the last Baby Boomers turn 65, older adults are expected to reach 20 percent of the population.

The key findings of the study were:

  • 1 in 10 elderly people in the US fell victim to elder fraud in the last year
  • More than 5 million incidents of elder fraud occur every year in total
  • The average loss per case reported to Adult Protective Services is $2,415
  • In total, losses due to elder fraud total $27.4 billion each year
  • 38% of fraud cases target the elderly
  • Debit cards were the most common product involved with elder fraud cases (32.9%), followed by credit cards (11.6%) and bank deposit accounts (10%)

Major problem, here’s the solution. Here are 7 steps experts agree will help protect you and your aging loved ones.

  1. When an elderly person becomes mentally deficient or starts to show signs of mental decline, it is important to help them develop a plan that designates power of attorney and health care directives. 

We have developed a tool that will enable you develop both a power of attorney and health care directive for your specific state.  This system can be used to make sure that you or your loved ones have all of their affairs in order.  

  1. Stay connected with older loved ones through regular phone calls, visits or emails.

It is critical that you keep in touch and not allow significant amounts of time to pass before checking in.

  1. Establish a strong relationship with your parent’s caregiver.

If you aren’t directly involved in the care of your parent, it is important to maintain a strong relationship with whomever will be caring for your loved one.

  1. Become the “trusted contact” so that you can monitor bank account, brokerage activity and any other financial conditions.

There has to be someone directly involved in making sure that your loved one is not being exploited out of valuable resources.

  1. With consent, sign up for a service to track financial activity 

Just as with the last suggestion, sign up for whatever service necessary to monitor your loved one’s financial activities

  1. Set up direct deposit for checks so others don’t have to cash them.

Often social security and pension checks come through the mail.  It is critical for you to make adequate use of direct deposits to ensure that your parents’ money get where it is supposed to, in their accounts.  

  1. Do not sign or encourage your loved ones to sign any documents that you don’t understand.

Seek counsel and advice before signing anything that is confusing.  

  1. Develop a power of attorney and advanced healthcare directive
  2. Stay connected through regular