Financial Elder Abuse Is A Crime
Seniors At Risk Of Financial Elder Abuse From Caregivers And Others
Five Ways To Spot And Stop Caregiver Fraud
Whenever a caregiver or other stranger is in a senior’s home there is a very real danger of theft, whether the caregiver comes through an agency or is a direct hire. Caregivers and other strangers in a senior’s home may steal credit cards or cash or forge checks or gain access to accounts online and transfer funds or change account authorizations and beneficiary designations. All acts of financial elder abuse are criminal and grounds for civil liability against the person who took the property ad anyone assisting them. Penal Code § 368; Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30(a)(1) and (2). Financial elder abuse is broadly defined under California law:
(a) “Financial abuse” of an elder or dependent adult occurs when a person or entity does any of the following:
(1) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both.
(2) Assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both.
(3) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains, or assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining, real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult by undue influence, as defined in Section 15610.70.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Marin, San Francisco or anywhere in the Bay Area or throughout California, call us today at (415)441-8669. We will pursue all persons responsible for a senior’s injury. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
5 Ways To Spot And Stop Caregiver Fraud
Take these steps to safeguard a care recipient from financial exploitation.
- Secure valuables, cash and cards
Create an inventory of all the valuables in the house, including photo or video records of items and a list of where they are stored. Keep smaller items like jewelry locked up at all times. Never allow an aide access to their charge’s cash, checkbooks and credit cards. Never ever give a caregiver a power of attorney.
- Be present
Check in regularly with the care recipient to monitor the quality of service and see how the relationship is developing. Make unannounced visits if you are close by. If you live far away, ask a trusted friend of your loved one to pop in at least once or twice a month.
- Use technology
If your loved one will allow it, install a video camera in common areas like the kitchen or living room for monitoring and theft protection.
- Monitor transactions
Check your older loved one’s financial accounts every day online. Write a letter to a parent’s or older relative’s bank after hiring a new caregiver, asking it to “keep a special eye” on the loved one’s accounts and notify Adult Protective Services if they spot unusual activity.
- Watch for warning signs
Unusual financial activity can be a tipoff that an older loved one is being exploited by a caregiver or other person who has gained access to their money. Here are some red flags to look out for, according to the American Bankers Association.
- Large, frequent or unexplained bank withdrawals or fund transfers
- Changing from a basic bank account to one with more complicated services
- A new person conducting financial transactions on a loved one’s behalf without proper documentation (such as a financial power of attorney)
- Checks that are written as “loans” or “gifts” or have suspicious-looking signatures
- Sudden overdrafts or unpaid bills
- Changes to wills, trusts or powers of attorney
If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one, friend or neighbor in Marin, San Francisco or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267). Ingrid pursues all available remedies for families and injured seniors against those responsible, including an award of attorneys’ fees and costs for the victim or his or her family. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5.