When Caregivers Steal Credit Cards
Identity Theft And Unauthorized Charges
Preventing Caregiver Theft
Studies show that economic downturns invariably give rise to more cases of financial elder abuse. Whether it’s desperation or the increased isolation of seniors, cases of financial elder abuse are up decidedly in this pandemic. Often, the abuse is outright theft of cash or a credit card but financial abuse can also take the form of selling a senior unsuitable insurance or making unauthorized or risky trades in an investment account. Whatever the nature of the abuse, the Alameda County financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent seniors in Alameda County and throughout California victimized by any form of caregiver theft or financial elder abuse from caregivers, insurance agents, financial advisors, and others. If you or someone you know is a victim of financial elder abuse in Alameda County, San Francisco or elsewhere in California, call us today at 415-441-8669, and we can help.
Theft of Credit and Debit Cards, Cash, Identity, and More
Seniors are at risk of financial exploitation whether they still live at home or in an assisted care or skilled nursing facility. In one recently reported case*, authorities arrested a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at an assisted living facility who allegedly stole a resident’s credit card and within one day made several unauthorized charges on the card. According to the report, authorities charged the CNA with felony exploitation of an elderly person, three felony counts of fraudulent use of a credit card, and seven felony counts of criminal use of identification. The incident remains under investigation.
Steps to Protect Senior Loved Ones
There is no way to be entirely safe from this kind of caregiver theft or financial elder abuse but there are a few important steps you can take to protect your older loved ones:
• Always run a background check and contact references for any in-home caregiver before hiring them even if you are going through an agency. If you’re loved one is in a facility check to see if any citations have issued against the facility.
• Never ever grant a Power of Attorney to a caregiver.
• Keep cash, checks, ATM cards, credit cards, and Social Security and bank account numbers out of reach.
• Check the insurance of the home health agency to be sure it is in line with State of California requirements, which include a $10,000 employee dishonesty bond and $1,000,000 coverage for professional liability. Cal. Health & Safety Code §§ 1796.10 et seq.
• Check that the senior’s personal homeowners insurance has a rider to cover jewelry, silver and other items.
• If you can do so safely in the pandemic, drop in unannounced at the facility or at the senior’s home when the caregiver is working.
• Remove valuables from the home or place them in a home safe.
• Take pictures and locate receipts of valuables.
Report any suspicions to the police but also call elder abuse counsel to pursue all civil remedies available to senior victims under California elder abuse law. Our lawyers handle elder abuse cases of all varieties and know the remedies, extra damages, and awards of attorneys’ fees and costs to which you or your victimized loved one is entitled.
If you or a loved one been the victim of elder abuse in Alameda County, San Francisco or elsewhere in California, contact Ingrid M. Evans and the other Evans Law Firm elder abuse attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>. We can help guide your case through investigation, discovery, through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.
*Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in this case in any way.