If you are a senior yourself, or you are the caregiver for someone who is, you need to know as much as possible about elder abuse and neglect because knowledge is power. One type of elder abuse is particularly pervasive in the United States – financial abuse or exploitation. Although financial abuse does not leave physical reminders with a victim, the aftermath of financial exploitation can be devastating, both to a victim and to the victim’s family. In an effort to help you avoid becoming the victim of financial exploitation, the Lincolnshire elder law attorneys have put together some useful information and tips.
What Is Financial Exploitation?
Scam artists are certainly nothing new in the United States. If they see a way to make a few dollars off of unsuspecting “marks,” they will do so. Unfortunately, the elderly often make the perfect mark for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is the simple fact that elderly individuals are frequently more trusting than their younger counterparts which may lead to becoming the victim of financial exploitation. The term “financial exploitation” is a generic term used to refer to a wide variety of scenarios wherein a victim suffers a financial loss, but by means other than a direct theft. For example, one of the most common scams in recent years is known as the “Granny Scam.” The Granny scam starts with the perpetrator contacting the victim and pretending to be a grandchild, or friend of a grandchild, and explaining that the grandchild is in trouble and needs money A.S.A.P. Usually, the perpetrator tells the victim that the grandchild is in jail, or is facing jail, and needs the money to get out/avoid being locked up. The scammer often gathers enough information off of a grandparent’s Facebook page or other social media site to pull off the scam.
How Can I Avoid Becoming a Victim of Financial Exploitation?
Sadly, many perpetrators of financial exploitation see seniors as easy targets. The following tips will help you, or a loved one, avoid becoming the victim of financial exploitation:
- Check your privacy settings on social media. In today’s electronic age, a scam artist can access highly personal information about you through your social media accounts – and you may be giving him/her permission! Check your privacy settings on sites such as Facebook and make sure they are not set to “public.”
- Do not divulge personal information or plans. Do not give people personal information, such as when you plan to go on vacation or where your grandchildren go to college.
- Never send money electronically to strangers. Goo d scam artists are skilled at getting people to part with their hard-earned money electronically. Never send money to someone via Western Union or other similar methods.
- Do your research. Always verify what someone is telling you before you act on it. Ask for a call back number. If they won’t give you one, it’s a scam.
- Ask for help when you need it. Seniors often refer not to ask anyone for help, particularly if it involves a situation that makes them feel vulnerable. Do not make this mistake. If you are unsure whether something is a scam, ask a loved one to investigate it for you to be certain one way or the other.
By taking these precautions you will significantly reduce the likelihood of becoming the victim of financial exploitation. If, despite taking precautions, you still find yourself in a questionable situation, ask someone you trust for help.
Contact Lincolnshire Elder Law Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about financial exploitation, contact the experienced Lincolnshire elder law attorneys at Hedeker Law, Ltd. by calling (847) 913-5415 to schedule an appointment.