The First Step In Stopping Financial Exploitation.
The financial exploitation of older adults is a deeply troubling and unfortunately rampant issue. Seniors are often targeted because they may be more vulnerable, isolated, or unaware of the deceptive tactics used by exploiters. If you’re concerned about a senior in your life, recognizing the red flags can be the first step towards taking action and ensuring their financial safety.
New ‘Best Friend’ or Love Interest
The appearance of a new, overly-involved individual in a senior’s life can be a major red flag. Be vigilant if someone is becoming increasingly controlling or isolating your loved one. This ‘new best friend’ might change the senior’s phone number or be resistant to family visits—separating the senior from their support system can make it easier to gain control over their finances.
Sudden Shifts in Trust
A sudden change in attitude towards trusted family members can also be a significant warning sign. If your once-trusting loved one suddenly becomes suspicious, accusing you of theft or withholding financial information, it may be a clue that someone else is manipulating their perceptions.
Pay attention to bank statements and look out for unusual activities like large ATM withdrawals, gift card purchases, or inexplicable expenses. These are all indicators that someone may be operating in the background, diverting money into untraceable avenues. Repeating Mantras If your loved one is continually repeating phrases like, “My kids are trying to steal from me,” or “They want to put me in a nursing home,” be cautious. This could be a script given by the exploiter to justify isolation or financial maneuvering.
Changes in Estate Plans
Any drastic alteration in wills, property deeds, or other significant financial documents should be an immediate concern. Check public records to see if there’s been a recent change in asset ownership. A sudden change usually signifies that the exploiter is consolidating control over the senior’s financial resources.
What Can You Do?
Contact the Authorities. If you suspect financial exploitation, your first point of call should be the police, followed by Adult Protective Services elder abuse hotline.
Consult a Specialist. If you’re not getting the results you need, consult a board-certified elder law attorney specializing in financial exploitation.
Time is of the essence; once the funds are gone, they’re notoriously difficult to recover. Remember, when it comes to protecting our seniors, vigilance is not just a virtue; it’s a necessity. If you suspect financial exploitation, please contact our office at 352.379.1900 so we can help you take advantage of the amazing Florida laws (best in the country) to stop exploitation and recover assets. You may also complete the form below and we will contact you.