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What is elder financial abuse?

Elder financial abuse is using an elder’s money or assets contrary to the elder’s wishes, needs, or best interests, for the abuser’s personal gain

What are examples of elder financial abuse?

Elder financial abuse covers a wide range of activities, including: 

  • Taking money or property.
  • Forging an older person's signature.
  • Getting an older person to sign a deed, will, or power of attorney through deception, coercion, or undue influence.
  • Using the older person's property or possessions without permission.
  • Promising lifelong care in exchange for money or property and not following through on the promise.
  • Committing confidence crimes ("cons") against older people, using deception to gain their confidence.
  • Scamming older people through the use of fraudulent or deceptive acts.
  • Committing fraud against older people through the use of deception, trickery, false pretense, or dishonest acts, or statements for financial gain.
  • Using telemarketing to commit scams against older people. Perpetrators call victims and use deception, scare tactics, or exaggerated claims to get them to send money. They may also make charges against victims' credit cards without authorization. 

Who are the perpetrators of elder financial abuse?

Family members, including children, grandchildren, or spouses. They may:

  • Have substance abuse, gambling, or financial problems.
  • Stand to inherit and feel justified in taking what they believe is "almost" or "rightfully" theirs.
  • Fear that their older family member will get sick and use up his or her savings, depriving the abuser of an inheritance.
  • Have had a negative relationship with the older person and feel a sense of "entitlement."
  • Have negative feelings toward siblings or other family members whom they want to prevent from acquiring or inheriting the older person's assets.

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