Financial elder abuse is one of the top types of elder abuse in the country. Over five million elderly residents currently reside in California alone. Elders may be easy targets for unscrupulous caregivers, family members and scam artists. Unfortunately, financial elder abuse often goes unrecognized for far too long. Even when family members suspect financial elder abuse, it is difficult to prove. Yet, recognizing the signs of financial elder abuse is key to protecting your loved one and safeguarding their assets. Our financial elder abuse attorneys explain potential signs of financial elder abuse.
What Is Financial Elder Abuse?
California’s Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act protects elders from financial abuse. Even so, it happens. Financial elder abuse occurs when a person takes, obtains or assists in taking or obtaining property or money from an elder for a wrongful use, with the intent to defraud or by undue influence or coercion.
There are many types of financial abuse and typical scams of the elderly. Common types of financial elder abuse may include any of the following behaviors to get an elder to give money and/or properties:
- Undue influence
Common types of scams against the elderly include:
- Sweetheart scams
- Lottery or sweepstakes scams
- Grandparent scam
- Investment schemes
- Reverse mortgage scams
- Home repair fraud
- Gift card fraud
- Internet fraud
Watch for These 10 Signs of Financial Elder Abuse in California
There are many signs of financial elder abuse. However, some of the most common signs to watch for include the following:
- Sudden changes in legal documents, such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, account beneficiaries or authorized signers
- Expensive or frequent gifts to one person
- Sudden inappropriate or unusual banking activity, such as many cash withdrawals or large withdrawals that are out of character for the elder and that the elder can’t explain
- Missing cash, jewelry, checks or high-priced assets
- Forged signatures on checks or documents
- A family member, caregiver or new friend’s sudden interest in spending time with the elder
- Decline in lifestyle even when the elder can afford it
- Unpaid bills or mounting debt
- Unexplained credit cards, sudden opening of credit cards or new lines of credit
- Sudden and unexplained investments
While each of these on its own may not be cause for alarm, if your elderly loved one makes sudden and unexplained money changes, it may be worrisome. Talk to your loved one and ask about any suspicions you may have. Family theft, overreaching and caregiving theft are more common than many families realize.
Do you suspect financial elder abuse? An experienced elder abuse attorney can examine the details of your case and help determine if financial abuse is occurring.
Discuss Your Case With Our San Jose Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys
The attorneys at Needham Kepner & Fish LLP can help you protect your elder from financial abuse and harm. We know how to hold abusive institutions and caregivers accountable for their actions.
If you believe that your loved one has been a victim of financial elder abuse in San Jose or the surrounding Bay Area, we are here to help. Call us at (408) 956-6949 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule your free case evaluation.