Spotting Elder Financial Abuse

Many elderly people are targets of financial exploitation because they are likely to have savings accounts, fixed incomes, receive social security benefits or own their homes.

Sadly, many who are financially exploited experience this abuse at the hands of trusted caregivers or family members. This can make the victim feel heartbroken, embarrassed and ashamed. They may even choose not to report the abuse for fear that their loved one will get in trouble.

Elders who are financially exploited by strangers may have a hard time believing that abuse happened to them, or they can feel so embarrassed that they “let” this happen that they don’t report the abuse.

Financial exploitation can have devastating impacts. If you suspect that someone you know is a victim, look for the warning signs below.

COMMON Signs of Elder Financial Abuse
  • Uncomfortable spending money on needs and wants
  • Being isolated from friends and family
  • Uncomfortable speaking with friends and family
  • Unexplained financial account activity and low bank balances
  • Sudden changes to a will
  • Buying items that are of no use
  • Personal possessions go missing
  • Trouble paying for care they once could afford
  • Co-signer added to accounts
  • Uncomfortable or confused when talking about finances
What to do
  • Contact their local financial institution
  • Contact Adult Protective Services – Offices of Aging and Disability Services (an office of DHHS) toll free: 1-800-624-8404
  • Contact the local Area Agency on Aging to find out what support and services are available to help: 1-877-ELDERS-1 (1-877-353-3771)