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How to Keep from Falling Victim to Financial Fraud

Comparitech, a cybersecurity research company, has estimated that 7.86 million cases of elder financial fraud occur annually in the United States, resulting in $148 billion in financial losses. Of those cases, only around 334,000 are reported to authorities.1

Elder financial exploitation can happen to anyone, yet cases are often vastly underreported often due to victim shame, the fact that the abuser is a family member or trusted caregiver, or because the victim does not know how to report the abuse.2

Signs of Elder Financial Fraud

The key to identifying financial exploitation is to be on the lookout for unexpected transactions or a change in your loved one’s financial patterns. The following are potential signs of financial abuse.

  • Unusual banking activity such as large, unexplained withdrawals
  • The shut-off of electricity, phone, water or other utilities due to unpaid bills
  • The sudden closing of investment accounts or CDs regardless of penalties
  • Unauthorized ATM withdrawals or checks made out to cash
  • Sudden changes to estate planning documents, such as wills and trusts
  • An unexpected transfer of assets to a family member or unrelated individual
  • Unusual credit card charges
  • The inability of the elderly loved one to ac