June / July 2019
Financial Elder Abuse on the Rise
Elder Abuse is a serious problem. According to the NIH, National Institute on Aging, 1 in 10 people age 60 and over will be the victim of Elder Abuse. There are many forms of abuse: Physical, Emotional, Sexual, Neglect, and Financial. As a Financial Organizer/Daily Money Manager I witness Financial Elder Abuse with many of my Clients. Some examples are fraudulent credit card charges, renewing subscriptions years in advance, and Private Caregivers taking thousands of dollars from their client (before I was working for them). The NIH website highlights stories from real people who have suffered abuse. Sometimes children take advantage of their own parents.
Someone I know (they did not want to be identified). We will call her Martha (not her real name), is a 79 year old woman who was living independently and has recently moved into Assisted Living. Martha, gave thousands of dollars “loaned” just under $8,000 to a man who was helping her with computer coaching. Martha paid him about $1,200 a visit on 7 different visits. Martha’s sister who lives near her found 7 sheets of paper that had his name, address, and the details of the loan; stating he would pay her back eventually.
When Martha’s sister Diane (not her real name) discovered the “loans” she took action. Diane is now Martha’s POA, Power of Attorney and she is listed on her checking account. Diane is handling all of Martha’s financial affairs now. Martha is being treated for Dementia. Unfortunately, most people are not proactive when it comes to this important area of their life. They wait for a crisis and don’t put preventative measures in place that may prevent problems from occurring.
However, there are no easy solutions to problems like this. Everyone wants to have control over their own finances and I have not met any clients in my 16 years at Simple Solution Organizing that voluntarily handed this task over without their Physician, Family Attorney, or Adult Children encouraging them.
Credit Card fraud is a huge problem for everyone. Elderly people are more at risk because they may not be reviewing their credit card statements and may overlook transactions because they simply can’t remember. It is so important to review financial statements immediately. One of my client’s credit card was compromised by someone who spent thousands of dollars at a hotel in San Antonio, Texas. Another client had charges from YouTube TV and they use Charter. I asked if she had switched to YouTube and she said no. I called the credit card company immediately in both cases and had all the charges disputed. Charges were refunded since it was within 90 days of the charges. Credit card companies will not dispute charges, if you wait too long to notify them. If you have Elderly Parents or you are Elderly it’s time to take steps to protect your assets.
What are some simple things that you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones against Fraud?
Adele Gross, owner of Simple Solution Organizing LLC, has been background checked and has 2 Insurance policies: General Liability and an Accountants Policy. We are here to help you or anyone that wants help organizing their Daily Money Affairs.
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