Seniors in Northern California nursing homes all too often are easy prey for people who siphon off the elders’ life savings. Some victims are unaware of the exploitation. On the other hand, some victims are too embarrassed to speak up. If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of financial abuse, you may have a viable claim to hold the responsible party accountable. Contact a San Jose financial elder abuse attorney from our firm to learn more about your legal options.
Our elder abuse lawyers can help to recover the money your loved one has lost. We can also help recover additional damages and attorney’s fees. We fight for victims of physical and financial abuse of the elderly throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
California Elder Abuse Laws Designed to Safeguard Finances
California’s Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act aims to protect elders from financial abuse. Financial elder abuse occurs when an elder’s money or property is taken by means of fraud or undue influence. This includes transfers through a will, gift, donation or any type of agreement.
Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation by Friends, Family, and Businesses
Elder financial abuse generally occurs after a person or business earns a senior’s trust. Then, they take advantage of the relationship. This can occur through misappropriating funds or property through false representations or other deceptive tactics. As a result, the scam artist generally ends up with control over the elder’s money or property.
Unfortunately, many scams that target seniors are committed by someone the elder knows. For example, perpetrators can include an elder’s friend, relative, business partner or other close acquaintance. This can make the abuse difficult to prove. Our financial elder abuse lawyers help clients uncover and prove the fraudulent activity.
Dishonest Insurance and Financial Advisers Target the Elderly
A common type of financial abuse occurs when an insurance broker or financial adviser sells a senior an insurance policy or investment that benefits the seller, not the senior. One example is annuities that provide a return only after as long as 20 years. The dishonest sellers of these annuities convince their victims that the investment will protect the senior’s assets or will somehow help them qualify for government benefits.
Types of Scams That Target Seniors
Deceptive individuals and companies operate scams that often appear legitimate on the surface. Our San Jose financial abuse attorneys have learned how these cons work. For example, here are some of the most common scams that target senior citizens:
- Reverse mortgages: Senior citizens are often financially stable and have good credit. As a result, this makes them prime targets for con artists. In a legitimate reverse mortgage, an older homeowner in effect receives current income from the home’s surplus equity. This allows the senior to benefit from the equity without selling the home. In a reverse mortgage scam, the con artist pushes the senior into a lopsided deal. The lopsided deal can end with the fraud artist owning the home and the homeowner’s eviction. If a mortgage broker tries to get you to enter into a reverse mortgage, speak to a trustworthy attorney before signing anything.
- Home improvement: Some scammers take advantage of seniors by claiming that their homes need costly repairs. The con artist may show up at your door unannounced and offer a free inspection. No matter what shape your house is in, the scammer tells you that your house is a wreck and needs expensive repairs. The scammer performs no repairs, pockets your check and vanishes. If a stranger tries to sell you on home repairs, “no thanks” is the prudent response.
- Tech Support Scams: Many seniors are unsavvy with the latest technology. Unfortunately, scammers like to take advantage of the elderly's lack of technological know-how to get access to their computers or smartphones.
- Advance Fee Fraud: Scammers are always evolving to find new ways of convincing unsuspecting victims that they can access a large financial reward. They may try to take in your elderly loved one with claims about an inheritance from abroad, winning prizes, and more; advance fee scams result in those affected losing an initial payment with no further potential for gain.
Our Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys Serve the San Francisco Bay Area
If you suspect that a loved one is the victim of financial elder abuse, you should immediately contact an experienced attorney. Our elder abuse attorneys are available for weekend and evening meetings.
Victims of financial scams often are angry with themselves for being scammed. However, victims misplace their anger. At Needham Kepner & Fish LLP, we vow to bring these con artists to justice. Our San Jose financial elder abuse lawyers can help clients uncover the scams that target the elderly. Then, we help recover the stolen assets. Our lawyers have a reputation for helping elderly clients in and around the San Jose and Bay Area.