Along with the general stress of managing their finances later in life, seniors are frequently targets of financial fraud. A bankruptcy attorney often sees cases where people’s finances are depleted after a devastating scam.
Getting an estimate of the prevalence for these types of elder crime is difficult. Not all seniors report a financial crime, and depending on its scope, it isn’t always detected. But some statistics reported on the website for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) point to billions of dollars in losses and the widespread prevalence of seniors who are victims of fraud or attempted fraud.
Recently, Forbes came out with an article on how you can help parents and grandparents guard against financial crimes. The article shares a list of potential risk factors – what criminals look for when finding a target to exploit. These include living alone and/or feeling lonely, experiencing dementia or other cognitive difficulties, and having a nest egg saved up for retirement. You should keep a lookout for your loved one whether they live at home or at a long-term care facility such as a nursing home, where financial crime is also a possibility.
Some things to look for
- Remember that financial crime can take on many forms, including health insurance and medical fraud, telemarketing fraud, and even fraud related to preparing for one’s burial. The FBI lists different types of fraud on their website and gives advice on how to reduce the chances of becoming a victim.
- Keep an eye on sudden friendships or relationships between your loved one and someone new, particularly if you think that money is changing hands or your loved one is giving the other person unwarranted trust in regards to sensitive information or important assets.
- When you can, conduct thorough research and background checks, whether it’s on a new caretaker, a company that’s called you up on the phone, or a charity that’s trying to solicit donations. Never be quick to hand out sensitive financial or personal data.
Be present in the life of your loved one, and don’t make them feel afraid or ashamed of discussing a financial mistake they might have made; if they aren’t in a state of cognitive incapacitation, make sure to discuss the risks with them in advance. There’s no way to prevent all forms of fraud 100% of the time, but your presence and support can go along way to help with prevention and with handling the aftermath of fraud.
Sometimes, the victims of financial scams need to file for bankruptcy in the aftermath of massive fraud. Be sure to contact a trusted Dayton, Ohio bankruptcy attorney in the event that you’re considering bankruptcy proceedings. You will need a reliable advisor to discuss your options with you and advocate on your behalf, providing you with some potential relief after a devastating scam.