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Jul 15, 2021 by |

California and Marin County Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Caregivers And Credit Card Theft

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Caregiver Allegedly Stole Elderly Man’s Credit Card

Wheelchair-Bound Elderly Man Reports Theft

Four, Large Unauthorized Charges In One Day

An elderly person’s cash and credit cards can disappear in minutes if an unscrupulous caregiver or stranger enters the elder’s home and has access to a wallet or purse.  So often the financial abuse of an older person starts out this way and then grows if the caregiver gets away with the first thefts.  Sometimes, the senior notices what’s missing right away and notifies the police, as in the case discussed below.  Sadly, however, most caregivers get away with their theft because of the older person’s cognitive impairments or confinement. Once a caregiver believes he or she is getting away with their theft, the amounts and schemes can grow and reach the senior’s stocks and bonds, retirement savings, trust assets, life insurance benefits, and even their home. Evans Law Firm, Inc. has represented victims and families where caregiver steals hundreds of thousands of dollars or more and may even take the elderly person’s home in the end.  Call us today at (415)441-8669 or TOLL FREE 1-888-80EVANS (888-503-8267) if any senior loved one has suffered any kind of financial elder or dependent adult abuse in Marin County or elsewhere in California.

Arrest for Financial Elder Abuse

In one recently reported case an alert senior noticed his credit card was missing and alerted police that he last saw his card before his in-home caregiver left his house.[1]  The man was elderly and confined to a wheelchair. After he noticed his card was missing, he checked his account and realized the card had four unauthorized transactions on a single day, all large shopping purchases at various local stores. The man told investigators that he never gave anyone permission to use his credit card, according to the arrest report.  A deputy went to three of the stores where transactions were made and discovered a woman fitting the victim’s description who was driving a car that also fit the description of her car seen on surveillance video at two of the stores around the time those credit card transactions were made, the arrest report states. The deputy took still images of the surveillance videos and showed them to the man, who positively identified the individual in the footage as his caregiver, according to the report.  The caregiver was arrested on charges of elderly exploitation and credit card fraud.  Police discovered that she was employed by an agency who assigned her as a caregiver for the man.

Preventing Elder Financial Abuse And Theft

The senior in this case fortunately noticed his missing card and did something about it right away.  Not all elderly persons are that alert and some may not even be able to access their own cards, cash, and important papers. We at Evans Law Firm have seen so many seniors abused by their caregivers that we cannot overstate the risks to a senior of this kind of abuse everytime a caregiver or stranger enters their home.  If you need to hire in-home help for a senior loved one, always do a background check on anyone who enters their home.  If you are going through an agency, vet the assigned individuals yourself anyway as agencies do not always vet their staff thoroughly.  Check out the agency’s own record too on the California Department of Social Services website. Agencies often do not perform the thorough background checks they should on the individuals they assign as caregivers.  Always ask for recommendations for the agency and the assigned individuals and check them!  If your loved one already lives at home under the care of an in-home caregiver, be especially vigilant about their wellbeing and financial affairs. Monitor credit cards and bank accounts online.  With the senior’s permission redirect mail to your own address so any caregivers or other strangers in a senior’s home do not have access to mail.  Keep all financial information like account numbers and Social Security numbers away from a caregiver’s glance.  Remember that a senior’s finances are none of a caregiver’s business; they are there just to take care of a senior, not to pry into personal, financial, or family affairs. Never, ever grant a power of attorney to a caregiver.  Accompany older loved ones whenever they go shopping or go to the bank or have any sort of meeting about financial matters.  You can be there to protect them from outright theft and the problems they may get into if they are sold an unsuitable investment or insurance product like an annuity.  Perhaps most important of all, if you suspect anything wrong, do something about it right away.

Contact Us

Ingrid M. Evans represents elder and dependent adults in Marin County and throughout California who are victims of any kind of financial exploitation or other abuse.  Ingrid can be reached at (415) 441-8669 or TOLL FREE 1-888-80EVANS (888-503-8267), or email us at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>. 

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the reported case in any way.

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