Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

I have had phone calls the past three mornings (including one at 5:00 a.m.) from a recorded caller claiming to be from the IRS and demanding that I call them back immediately or the IRS will file a lawsuit against me. I have not returned these calls, however there is a good chance that someone that I know or that you know may be frightened by a call such as this and will respond to the call. I am sure that the first thing that they will be asked for is their social security number and maybe even their bank account number to transfer funds to settle the lawsuit.
This is just one of the many scams that are taking place every day. The purpose of having a world elder abuse day is to educate older adults and those who care for them about the many types of financial elder abuse that are occurring and how to prevent them. While it is not always easy to identify financial elder abuse, you can watch for changes in the older person’s financial activities that may signal that there is an issue, such as:
• Unusual changes in wills or powers of attorney – Out of the blue, your grandfather wills all of his belongings to his new caregiver.
• Financial activity the person couldn’t have done herself – You discover repeated online credit card charges on your mom’s bill, who does not know how to use a computer.
• Bills not being paid – When visiting a neighbor, you see mail piling up on his desk or you stop seeing his lights on at night.
• Significant withdrawals or unusual purchases – You notice charges for luxury items on your thrifty aunt’s credit card bill.
The following are some additional online resources that I recommend:
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “Pass it On” campaign has a number of resources for the consumer to protect themselves and others from scams.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has tools for caregivers that are trying to assist older persons with their finances. You can download their publication “Money Smart for Older Adults.”
* The information contained in this Blog is intended for general information and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an opinion of counsel.