Look out for these red flags of elder abuse


People are financially taken advantage of all the time. Sadly, most people fail to realize when they’ve been cheated, instead chalking their losses up to misfortune or bad luck.

That’s why it’s important that you remain vigilant and ask questions when you or a loved one suffers financial losses that are worrisome and seemingly unjustified. Being proactive can be especially important when you suspect that elder fraud is occurring.

What is elder financial abuse?

Elder financial abuse is the process whereby an elderly individual is manipulated in a way that leads to the elderly individual’s assets being stolen or improperly diverted into an unsuitable investment.

This type of behavior can happen to anyone, but those who suffer from dementia and those who are socially isolated are most susceptible to this type of fraud. It’s important to note, too, that anyone can commit this kind of fraud. While investment advisors may certainly take advantage, so, too, can family members and friends.

How does elder abuse occur?

There are a lot of tactics that individuals can use to try to cheat an elderly individual out of their money, including securities fraud. Some common tactics include:

  • Misrepresenting investment opportunities to dupe an elderly individual into buying into a high commission risky investment
  • Misappropriating an elderly individual’s assets and keeping him or her in the dark about where the assets have actually gone
  • Racking up large commission fees on excessive trading
  • Engaging in unauthorized transactions that may not be in the individual’s best interests

Keep in mind that these are just a handful of the many ways in which elder fraud can occur. If you suspect that something is wrong with your elderly loved one’s financial situation, then you should look into the matter further to learn more.

What are some signs of elder financial fraud?

Fraud takes many forms, but by keeping your eyes and ears open, you may be able to catch some signs of fraud that warrant further investigation. Amongst those signs are the following:

  • The elderly individual is writing consistent or large checks that go directly to the person who you suspect is perpetrating a fraud
  • Your elderly loved one’s name is being forged on documents
  • Large withdrawals are being taken from your loved one’s accounts without any credible justification
  • Your elderly loved one makes abrupt changes to his or her estate planning documents, including any existing powers of attorney
  • Your loved one is confused by or simply doesn’t understand his or her financial position
  • Your elderly loved one is suddenly very interested in a questionable investment opportunity
  • Your elderly loved one makes excuses for the why money has been lost, never directly blaming the person responsible for those losses
  • Your elderly loved one is receiving account statements from the investment advisor that are not on firm letterhead or otherwise appear questionable

If you observe any of these signs, then you need to delve into the matter more fully to try to figure out what’s going on. If during that process you discover that your loved one has been defrauded, then it may be time to take legal action.