As we age, we often rely on others for help with daily tasks, financial management, and decision-making. Unfortunately, this also makes us more vulnerable to financial exploitation. Elder financial abuse is a growing problem in Georgia and across the United States, with estimates suggesting that seniors lose billions of dollars each year to scams, fraud, and abuse. In this blog, we’ll explore the signs of elder financial abuse, how to prevent it, and the legal remedies available to victims.
Signs of Elder Financial Abuse
Elder financial abuse can be difficult to detect, as it often goes unreported. However, there are some common signs to look out for:
- Sudden changes in a senior’s financial situation, such as unexplained withdrawals, transfers, or missing funds
- An increase in unpaid bills or a sudden inability to pay for basic necessities
- Unusual or excessive activity on a senior’s bank accounts or credit cards
- Sudden changes to a senior’s will, power of attorney, or other legal documents
- A caregiver or family member who refuses to allow the senior to speak for themselves or see their financial statements
- A caregiver or family member who suddenly becomes overly involved in a senior’s financial affairs
Preventing Elder Financial Abuse
The best way to prevent elder financial abuse is to be proactive. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself or a loved one:
- Plan ahead: Make sure you have a trusted family member, friend, or professional who can help manage your finances if you become incapacitated.
- Keep your personal information safe: Never give out personal information, such as your social security number or bank account information, to strangers over the phone or online.
- Stay informed: Keep up to date with the latest scams and fraud schemes targeting seniors, and educate your loved ones about them.
- Check your financial statements regularly: Review your bank and credit card statements every month to ensure there are no unauthorized transactions.
- Be cautious of caregivers or family members who ask for money: If a caregiver or family member asks for money or financial support, be cautious and seek legal advice if necessary.
Legal Remedies for Elder Financial Abuse
If you or a loved one has been a victim of elder financial abuse, there are legal remedies available to help you recover your losses and hold the perpetrator accountable. Here are some of the most common legal remedies:
- Civil lawsuits: Victims can file civil lawsuits against the perpetrator to recover their losses and receive compensation for any damages or harm caused.
- Criminal charges: In some cases, elder financial abuse may be a criminal offense, and the perpetrator may face criminal charges.
- Protective orders: Victims can seek protective orders to prevent the perpetrator from having contact with them or their assets.
- Conservatorships: In extreme cases, a court may appoint a conservator to manage a senior’s finances and protect them from further abuse.
Elder financial abuse is a serious issue that affects thousands of seniors in Georgia and across the United States. It’s important to be vigilant and take steps to prevent it, but if you or a loved one has been a victim, there are legal remedies available to help you recover your losses and protect your assets. Don’t hesitate to seek legal advice if you suspect elder financial abuse. By staying informed and taking action, we can work together to protect our seniors and ensure their financial security in their golden years.