Strangers And Familiar Persons Are Both Possible Predators
All Seniors At Risk
Tips For Protecting Older Loved Ones
Seniors and persons of all ranks of life may be victims of financial elder abuse. Abuse strikes across all genders and socioeconomic groups. Any wrongful taking of a senior or dependent adult’s property is a crime and grounds for civil liability. California Penal Code § 368 and Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30 (definition of financial elder abuse). California broadly defines what constitutes financial elder abuse:
(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 is a victim of elder or dependent adult abuse or neglect in Marin or elsewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area elsewhere in California call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Tips For Protecting Older Loved Ones
Here are some tips for protecting older loved ones from financial exploitation:
- Add a “trusted contact” to your bank and investment accounts. A Trusted Contact is someone your bank or financial advisor can call if they suspect fraud or financial exploitation.
- Never, ever grant a Power of Attorney toa caregiver. Ever.
- Shred receipts, bank statements, and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
- Monitor all of a senior’s financial accounts online every day.
- Never give personal information like Social Security numbers, account numbers, or financial information over the phone, unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
- Never rush financial decisions. Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion.
- Never pay a fee or taxes to collect sweepstakes or lottery “winnings.”
- Check references and credentials before hiring anyone. Don’t allow workers to have access to information about your finances.
- Avoid sharing personal information on social media. Information, like your favorite actor and your mother’s maiden name, can be pieced together with other publicly available information to hack your online accounts.
- Be wary of predatory lenders and salespeople pressuring you into an inappropriate reverse mortgage or pushing an expensive annuity that may not mature until you are in your 90s.
- Remain extra vigilant after the loss of a spouse. Bad actors browse obituaries and prey on widows and widowers, often under the guise of an unpaid creditor.
- Don’t sign documents that you do not fully understand.
- Feel free to say “No.” It is your money.
There are no absolute safeguards to protect older persons from any financial abuse but staying involved in a senior’s life is the surest way to help them avoid exploitation or manipulation. Isolated seniors are the most vulnerable to financial elder abuse and the older an isolated senior becomes the more vulnerable he or she is. Those suffering from cognitive impairment, even in the beginning stages, are also at increased risk.
If you sense any kind of abuse of an older loved one in Marin or anywhere else in the San Francisco Bay Area or throughout the State of California, call us right away. Ingrid M. Evans has years of experience in representing seniors and their families against abusers of any kind, including in-home caregivers. You can reach us at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).