Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse is a concerning issue that affects the financial well-being and overall quality of life of its victims. As a society, it helps to understand and recognize the signs in order to prevent this type of abuse. It occurs when someone takes advantage of a dependent’s trust and manipulates them for monetary gain.
Common examples of elder and dependent adult abuse include scams, fraudulent schemes, or exploitation of dependent’s vulnerability by criminals, and sometimes even caregivers or family members. This abuse can lead to detrimental consequences such as financial ruin, emotional distress, and strained relationships.
Stay informed about scams, like fraudulent phone calls, fake emails, or offers that sound too good to be true. This strategy can affect even the savviest of technology users.
How does this happen? The scammers could reach out via phone call, text, or email and claim to be from a government department or debt collection agency. They might also say that you owe money and threaten legal action or arrest unless you pay a fee or fine. If this happens, remember that governmental agencies will rarely reach out in that manner to acquire fees. These scammers rely on the fear of their potential victims.
Another type of scam is the romance scam. These scammers create fraudulent profiles on dating sites and apps or even through social media sites like Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. They will make moves, usually over a long period of time, to build up trust, and when the victim’s guard drops, will make up a story and ask for money. If you suspect a romance scam, block them and stop communicating with the person immediately.
Encourage open and honest conversations about financial matters with your loved ones. Remind them to never share personal or financial information with anyone unless certain of the recipient's legitimacy. Do not give your online banking information to anyone. Do not send money or gifts to a person online, whom you haven’t met in person.
Monitor financial accounts.
Reviewing bank statements, bills, and credit reports regularly for any discrepancies is crucial. Set up automatic bill payments and direct deposits to decrease the probability of theft. If necessary, delegate a trusted family member as an overseer of financial transactions.
Also, make note of those who attempt to persuade you to open a new account and set up ACH or wire funds. You can spot these scammers in a few ways including:
If an unknown person sends you a check and tells you to deposit it, be on the alert.
If an unknown caller pressures you into paying immediately for a service or product that you didn’t request or insists that a wire transfer is the only way you can pay.
Create a strong support network.
Regular check-ins by friends, family, or caregivers can help identify any unusual behavior or sudden changes in financial situations. Isolation could increase the risk of manipulation, so staying connected is crucial.
By establishing an environment of awareness and empathy, we can protect ourselves and other dependents from being scammed. If you think it’s a scam, report it to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov