If you watch daytime television, you’re bound to see advertisements for questionable products and services attempting to separate senior citizens from their money, some of which might be relatively harmless diversions and others of which are more suspect. But regardless of the value of any particular product or service, such ads are symptomatic of an enormous problem in our country: financial abuse of the elderly. Targeting elderly persons for financial abuse – whether done on the personal level or through misleading products or criminal fraud – is shockingly common in the United States and robs senior citizens of over $36 billion a year, which equates to thousands of dollars per senior citizen each year. But there is something you as a family member of a senior citizen can do about it.
Common Ways Financial Abuse of Elders Occurs
Financial elder abuse can be committed by any number of people who show up in a senior’s life, offering companionship, too-good-to-be-true offers, fraudulent pleas for financial assistance, or making outright threats. The people who commit financial abuse might include:
- Caregivers at nursing homes and assisted living facilities
- In-home caregivers and service workers
- Family members
- Strangers who come into a senior citizen’s life
- Financial service workers
According to a 2015 report on financial elder abuse released by True Link Financial, nearly a million senior citizens skip meals each day due to the consequences of financial abuse. Common ways in which financial elder abuse occur discussed in the report include:
- Theft from family members or caregivers
- Using undue influence to get a senior to change his or her will
- Taking property via physical threats and abuse
- “Borrowing” money from seniors with no intent to pay it back
- Fraudulent get-rich-quick and financial/investment schemes
- Identify theft
- Unauthorized financial transactions (opening credit cards, taking out car or home loans)
- Phishing/email scams
- Deceptive and misleading ads to sell worthless or overvalued products
Family Members Can Help Seniors Fight Back
Senior citizens can find themselves the victims of financial abuse for any number of reasons, some of which might relate to loss of physical or mental faculties or emotional vulnerability. Thus, the responsibility for being vigilant against elder abuse can often fall to family members.
But the good news is that federal and California state law is on the side of senior citizens in the fight against financial elder abuse, and an experienced elder abuse attorney can you work with you and your family to hold abusers of the elderly (and their employers) accountable through a lawsuit for financial damages. By taking the appropriate legal action against abusers of the elderly, you can obtain justice for your family while sending the message that such abuse will not be tolerated in our society.
Southern California Elder Abuse Attorneys
At McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, our legal team is on the side of elder abuse victims and their families. Our attorneys have recovered over $500 million for our clients. If you suspect that you or a family member have been a victim of elder abuse, please contact McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP today at (909) 345-8110 to schedule a free consultation.