If you have the responsibility to take care of an elder, there are many tasks that you can be held accountable for, including avoiding contact with them during a pandemic. And, while it can be hard to monitor their activities, there are a few things to watch for when it comes to preventing abuse. Here are the top four signs of elder abuse.
A New “Friend” Wanting Money
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could trust everyone we meet? If you notice someone new in their life is suddenly making excuses for needing money, or is making requests for money, you should ask some questions. The new friend may have a goal of building up trust, only to take advantage of the relationship they’ve built. Once they have what they want, the “friend” could vanish; never to be heard from again.
Suspiciously Large Withdrawals/Transactions
We’ve all heard about the scams. They range anywhere from the IRS saying they owe $50,000, to the Nigerian Prince Scam (yes, this one still works). That’s why you need to be on alert and help when you can. As a caretaker, you can make them aware of the scams that are out there, but some can sound so tempting and realistic that they will still fall for it. Whether you’re a friend, family member, or just someone trying to help, watch for withdrawals or transactions and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Uncharacteristic behavior generally occurs in the form of irrational or unusual behaviors. Some examples are suddenly using an ATM when they have never previously done so, or closing a CD early with no regard for the penalties associated with doing so. Some scams claim that the person being scammed needs to act discretely. Their goal is to get the victim to avoid interaction with someone who can catch them before it’s too late.
Caretaker Attempting to Take Control without Proper Documentation
When you encounter this situation, it is best to tread lightly. This can be hostile. For example, if the so-called caretaker is not authorized make a transaction or receive the requested information, you can simply say they are not authorized to make the request. But that may not be the end of it. They may be an aggressive caretaker making the requests in the presence of the elder. This can put you in a difficult situation. Trying to get a read on the situation can be difficult. The caretaker’s goal could be to confuse the elder they are caring for and get what they want before they have a full understanding of what is going on. If you catch onto this, make sure you clarify as much as possible before completing the request.
If you believe someone has become a victim of elder abuse there are several actions you can take. The first is to ask the legal caretaker if they have noticed anything suspicious. If you have reason to suspect fraud has occurred, you should report the incident to the necessary parties. This could be a bank or the local authorities. Lastly, if you believe any form of elder abuse is occurring, you should contact the local police. They can do an investigation and see if they can prove that it has occurred.
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