Fall Financial Check In
Chelsea Groton Bank SEPTEMBER 2015

Mutual Matters



Preventing Elder Financial Abuse

Prevent Elder Financial AbuseElder financial abuse is the illegal or improper use of a vulnerable adult's funds or property for another person's profit or advantage. Sadly, it's the nation's number one crime against individuals aged 65 and older.

One of the reasons the elderly are targets of financial abuse is that they control such a large proportion of the nation's wealth. About 70 percent of all funds deposited in financial institutions are controlled by people who are 60 years of age or older.

Sadly, the majority of perpetrators in elder financial abuse cases are people the elderly person knows and trusts, such as family members, caregivers, and neighbors. As people age, they tend to be creatures of habit. And, who wouldn't trust their own grown child or caregiver? Unfortunately, this blind trust can result in substantial financial loss to the victim.

Preventing elder financial abuse needs to be a joint effort between individuals and financial institutions. If you are currently receiving assistance with managing your finances, or you know a parent or sibling is receiving assistance from another family member or spouse, be on the look-out for the following:

  • Unusual banking activity, meaning more frequent transactions or transactions occurring electronically when the person usually makes transactions in a branch, larger deposit and withdrawal amounts than usual, statements no longer are being sent to the elder person's home, or there are frequent electronic transfers to an account in a different individual's name.
  • Involvement of other individuals, such as someone else's name is added to the account or someone begins to handle the elder person's finances with no apparent benefit to the elder person, suspicious signatures are on checks or other documents, or there is no plausible reason given by the elder person or the person accompanying him or her to the bank for why they are making transactions together.

Often, the best way to prevent elder financial abuse is to check up on the elders in your life regularly. Ask frequent questions. Pay attention to changes in mood and behavior, as well as spending habits. By being involved and aware of the elder person's day-to-day activities, it will make it more difficult for the abuser to successfully take advantage of the person who is aging. For more information on classes Chelsea Groton offers to educate people on elder abuse signs and prevention, or to request a course be taught to your organization, visit the Bank's website .

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