When someone preys upon a senior financially, a close friend or loved one is often to blame. In some cases, staff at assisted living and nursing facilities also enact this damaging form of abuse, which can cause major financial instability.
The AARP defines elder financial abuse as tricks or deception used to deprive a person of money that is rightfully theirs. It is often up to the loved one’s of the elderly to identify financial abuse and take steps to stop it from happening. While anyone can fall victim to it, the following people are more susceptible.
Lack of awareness or knowledge
Cognitive decline is a problem for many elderly people. Those with Alzheimer’s or dementia have a hard time remembering basic information. They also become confused and disoriented easily, which leaves them open to victimization.
While it is not guaranteed that those with cognitive issues will fall victim to scam artists, it does increase the risk. Your loved one will not recognize when a financial decision is not in their best interest, or when a person is trying to take advantage of them.
Lack of a social network
Financial scam artists also target elderly people who appear to lack strong social connections. If there is no one to oversee the person’s life and well-being, it stands to reason that it is easier to commit financial fraud against them.
Lonely people are also more willing to befriend others. While this is beneficial when relationships are healthy, it also puts the senior at risk of exploitation. Like cognitive issues, many fraud artists look for seniors who are lonely and isolated.
You might think vulnerable people would be off-limits when it comes to wrongdoing. These groups are often targeted precisely because of their vulnerability, but with swift action and vigilance you can prevent them from acting out their schemes.