Elder Financial Abuse

Written by Denise Becker, Leighton State Bank’s expert in Retail Banking.

Do you know of someone who has been financially scammed?  If not, you probably will at some point in your life.  Particularly elder abuse is becoming widespread in today’s society with an increase in the retirement of the Baby Boomers.  What’s very disheartening is that elderly victims typically know the perpetrators as they are family members, friend/neighbor, or caregiver.

Financial exploitation warning signs:

  • Significant withdrawals from the elder’s accounts
  • Sudden changes in the elder’s financial condition
  • Items or cash missing from the senior’s household
  • Suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney, titles, and policies
  • Addition of names to the senior’s signature card
  • Financial activity the senior couldn’t have undertaken, such as an ATM withdrawal when the account holder is bedridden
  • Unnecessary services, goods, or subscriptions

Tips to Help Protect Finances:

  • Never provide personal information including your Social Security number, account numbers, or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call.
  • Order a credit report to review for suspicious activity. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once every 12 months.

More information regarding Elder Abuse can be found on the Iowa Department on Aging website at www.IowaAging.gov.