How Seniors Can Detect and Report Financial Exploitation
Unfortunately, senior citizens who depend on others for help with day-to-day tasks, including the handling of their finances, are at risk for financial exploitation.
This involves predatory actions by a caregiver, fiduciary or other individual who uses the senior citizen’s resources for personal profit or gain, or blocks their access to their own benefits, resources, belongings or assets.
Warning signs of financial exploitation
- Increased or unexplained credit card activity or increased deposit account withdrawals.
- Overdrawn accounts.
- New, unauthorized signers are added to accounts.
- Requests of a senior to make changes to a will, power of attorney or other legal documents.
- Threatens physical harm or other actions unless they are provided access to finances, assets or control over accounts.
- A senior is financially supporting someone else while neglecting their own needs.
Plans to protect yourself or a loved one in the future
Work with close friends, family members and professionals to plan ahead. Consider creating the following:
- A durable power of attorney naming someone you trust.
- A living will.
- A revokable trust.
- Advance healthcare directives
- Sign up for the Do Not Call List at DoNotCall.gov or 1-888-382-1222.
- Do not send any information to someone who claims you have won a prize.
- Do not give out personal information like your ATM PIN or social security number.
- Be wary of calls or emails from someone asking you to purchase gift cards or wire money as they are often scams.
- Practice immense caution before making a large purchase or investment for or at the recommendation of someone else.
- Do not sign anything you don’t understand without talking to an attorney.
- If you hire someone to help you at home, make sure they have been properly screened.
Resources if you or a loved one are being financially exploited
Ameris Bank customers should contact their local branch if they suspect financial exploitation.
Reach out to adult protective services
- If you live in a long-term care facility, call The Department of Community Healthcare Facility Regulations at1-800-878-6442.
- If you do not live in a long-term care facility, call The Georgia DHS Division of Aging Services at 1-866-55AGING (1-866-552-4464).
- Call 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873).
The National Center on Elder Abuse provides general information at 1-855-500-ELDR (1-855-500-3537) or online at ncea.acl.gov.
For more information about financial exploitation, please visit www.consumerfinance.gov/older-americans.
By: Michael Quirk
Michael Quirk is the communications coordinator for Ameris Bank. He lives in Atlanta with his wife, Katy, and their two dogs. He enjoys running, playing fetch with his golden retriever and watching any sports that come across the TV.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Ameris Bank does not endorse nor is affiliated with the companies listed in this article.