Financial Exploitation

Not all forms of elder abuse are physical, but no matter the form it takes the abuse of our country’s senior citizens should not be taken lightly. Financial exploitation of seniors is a common occurrence, and because many retirees do not have the ability to defend themselves from this kind of threat it carries with it the possibility of significant financial losses and a wide array of related problems. In many instances victims of financial exploitation suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, making them easy targets for financial predators, but in other cases, such as when a victim in a nursing home is being exploited by a staff member, the victim feels that they do not have a means of getting help, or that if they report it their living situation may be drastically affected by retaliation.

Types of Financial Exploitation

Financial exploitation can take a variety of forms, but are typically either a form of theft or fraud, such as:

  • Theft of cash or personal property.
  • Fraud on the part of someone who is intended to be managing the victim’s assets.
  • The sale of inappropriate financial products, such as out of compliance mortgage ventures, high fee or high risk investments, Ponzi schemes, falsification of insurance products, or similar acts.
  • Unauthorized sales or transfers of real estate owned by the victim.
  • Services that are billed but never received, such as contractors that do not complete projects.
  • Lottery or Prize scams that involve the transfer of funds in order to collect “winnings”.
  • Electronic fraud such as “phishing” scam emails, computer fraud, or fraudulent telemarketing.
Warning Signs of Financial Exploitation

Financial exploitation can in many cases go on for extended periods of time, often because financial information is a subject that is not always talked about within a family, so caretakers might not come across suspicious occurrences. Some warning signs to look for include things like:

  • Utility past due notices or shut-offs.
  • Unpaid bills and debts despite the victim having sufficient income to cover them previously.
  • Unexplained foreclosure notices or liens on property.
  • The task of managing a victim’s finances being turned over to a different person without explanation, or assets being transferred to people unfamiliar to the family.
  • Checks being written out to “cash”; often in large amounts or high volume.
  • The victim not having a grasp of their current financial situation, or having implausible explanations.
  • The disappearance of assets or financial documents.
  • Unexplained changes to a will, estate documents, or other financial instruments.
  • Gifting money or personal property.
  • Unusual changes in spending habits.

If a friend or loved one has been the victim of financial exploitation, particularly by a staff member at a nursing home or assisted living facility, they may be able to bring suit for elder abuse or nursing home abuse. If you believe that a loved one may be the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse in the State of Illinois, you should take action quickly and contact us online or call us at 877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872 and set up a free consultation to discuss your situation.

Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Blog - Financial abuse and exploitation
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