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Financial abuse is on the rise for older Adults. Consider these alarming statistics:
70% of the nation's wealth now belongs to those 60 or over
Seniors lose more than $2.9 billion annually to financial exploitation1
According to one survey: only 1 in 44 cases are reported
Studies have shown that elder financial abuse decimates income, compromises health care and living options, fractures families, and
results in a loss of dignity.
Exploitation of Older Adults
Perpetrators of financial abuse and exploitation range from family, friends and neighbors to caregivers, trusted professionals,
scam artists and common criminals. Despite increased awareness in recent years, this devastating crime, more often than not, goes
unreported. A superior court judge in California calls elder financial abuse the "ultimate betrayal."
The Many Forms of Financial Abuse
Perpetrators often target vulnerable seniors, like those who live in isolation, have limited mobility or suffer from cognitive
issues. Financial abuse of seniors can take many forms, including:
Unauthorized credit/debit card charges
Fraudulent bank withdrawals
Home improvement scams
Estate planning improprieties
Beware of the Warning Signs
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Consumer Reports, here are ten common signs of financial exploitation:
Inconsistent banking activity
Money or property is missing
Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts, frequent ATM use or large wire transfers
Bank statements or bills stop arriving in the mail
Changes in spending patterns, such as purchases of items the senior doesn't need
Excessively large reimbursements or "gifts" to caregivers or friends
Changes to beneficiaries on a will, a life insurance policy or retirement funds at a time when the senior's capacity is questionable
Excessive interest in the senior's finances by a caregiver, friend, or relative
A caregiver, friend or relative suddenly begins handling the money without legal support or documentation of the arrangement
EverSafe: Proactive Defense
EverSafe is the first service that applies technology to combat financial exploitation of older adults. It helps members and relatives
or trusted advocates identify and respond to suspicious activity. EverSafe monitors financial records, including bank and investment
accounts. credit cards and credit services, and quickly alerts members if there appear to be unauthorized transactions or identity theft.
EverSafe scans financial and credit records daily.
When suspicious activity is identified, members and their designated agents and advocates are immediately alerted.
The status of the suspicious activity is tracked through resolution.
Consolidated reporting of all accounts saves time and gives you a complete overview of the entire financial landscape.
Be alert and stay informed. It takes surprisingly little time for an exploiter to wipe out a lifetime of savings
Knowledge is the most effective weapon against elder financial abuse
Staying alert and attuned to banking and credit card activity is the first line of defense
Seniors and their advocates should also familiarize themselves with common cons and scams to avoid falling prey to abuse
Plan for that day in the future when you or your loved one may become ill or incapacitated. If all goes well, aging won't mean a loss of independence
Appointing a trusted family member, friend or professional as an agent pursuant to a Power of Attorney, and using EverSafe, will help ensure financial protection and peace of mind during the golden years