If you have a mother or father struggling with cognition issues, you’re right to be concerned about the possibility of senior financial abuse. Images of shady telemarketers or people coming to the door weigh on the minds of adult children who need to protect a parent’s assets for their long-term care. Sure enough, the worries are warranted.
According to a fall 2014 study of 2,000 Americans by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, nearly one in five adults age 40 to 64 report they have an older friend or family member who has given money to a scam operation. More than half of this group (55%) reports that the victims did not report the financial abuse.
Allianz’s report, Safeguarding our Seniors found that while both seniors and adult children assumed most likely sources of abuse would be telemarketing contacts or Internet scams, the truth is that 52% of all senior financial abuse is perpetrated by a family member, a friend or caregiver. Just 22% this fraud occurred at the hands of a complete stranger.
Financial abuse is not a matter of $100 here or $200 there. The study also pointed out the average financial loss was $30,000, with 10% of the respondents reporting loss of $100,000.
Tips to prevent elder financial abuse
We found a great resource at the Better Business Bureau that alerts adult children to red flags to watch for and tips for prevention. Preventing Elder Financial Abuse recommends loved ones pay particular attention to:
- Unpaid bills
- Fear and anxiety when either the senior or the suspect is discussing financial matters
- Increased activity on ATM and credit cards
- Senior’s confusion about recent financial activities
- Senior’s withdrawal from normal activities
- Abrupt changes in a will or trust
How Love 2 Live caregivers help prevent senior financial abuse
Caregivers are on the list of those who perpetrate senior financial abuse, and sometimes these are paid caregivers. Using a caregiver from an agency, however, protects families in several ways.
First, our caregiver applicants are background checked. If they had a moral structure allowing them to commit a crime in the past, we would know about it and not hire them. Do you know how to complete a thorough and reliable background check?
Then, we check in with our caregivers regularly, making sure the banking and shopping was carried out with the monies allotted. Our caregivers never have unlimited access to our clients’ funds. Since we’re supervising the caregiver, several at the office are listening for anything that might seem fishy. A caregiver hired off the street or neighbor doesn’t have this kind of oversight.
The caregiver we place in your home or your parents is present to hear the phone calls and see the email that comes in. They even act as a warning to people who come to the door. A criminal looking for an easy mark will not be thrilled to find a savvy caregiver trained in senior financial abuse prevention behind the screen.
Finally, because our caregivers check in with family members explaining what goes on during the day, family members may detect red flags on their own.
Still Concerned? Call Love 2 Live with Your Questions
Family owned and operated since 2003 and winner of the San Diego Union Tribune’s “Best of “ San Diego awards four years running, we take our reputation very seriously. Those of you who have specific questions about protecting your loved one from senior financial fraud can get them answered when you call us at 619-291-4663.We are happy to provide a free, no-obligation in-home assessment or contact us here.