Question: “What are some telltale signs of Financial Elder Abuse or Senior Fraud that we as a family should be looking for to help us determine whether these untoward acts have been committed against our elderly mother, who lives by herself in her home?
Answer: Here are some telltale signs of Financial Elder Abuse:
- Unusual or unexplained expenditures by the senior.
- Large cash withdrawals from the senior’s bank account
- Numerous checks being written to a person or company that you do not know
- Wires or asset transfers out of the elder’s bank or investment accounts that the senior cannot explain or doesn’t want to talk about
- Numerous unexplained credit card charges
- Monthly account balances in the senior’s bank or brokerage accounts that have suddenly declined dramatically
- The senior living without certain basic necessities even though he/she should have the money to afford them
- The senior recently lending money to someone you don’t know
- Large amounts of money in the senior’s investment account suddenly being invested in one product like a deferred variable annuity
From a practical perspective, there are a few simple things you can do to help your mother avoid Financial Elder Abuse:
- Have your mother’s bank and brokerage firm send you duplicate copies of her monthly account statements.
- Also, most banks allow their account holders to set up daily email alerts. Ask your mother to let you set up an email alert that sends you the daily balances on her bank accounts.
Let me know if I can be of further assistance to you.
J. Michael Bishop, JD
Smiley Bishop & Porter, LLP
Atlanta, GA 30338