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Ten Warning Signs of Financial Exploitation

The National Center on Elder Abuse defines Financial or Material Exploitation as:

The illegal or improper use of an elder’s funds, property or assets.  Examples includes, but are not limited to, cashing an elderly person’s checks without authorization or permission; forging an older person’s signature; misusing or stealing an older person’s money or possessions; coercing or deceiving an older person into signing a document (e.g., contracts or will); and the improper use of conservatorship, guardianship, or power of attorney.

The Center lists the following warning signs and symptoms of exploitation and other forms of financial abuse:

  1. Sudden changes in bank account or banking practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a person accompanying the elder;
  2. The inclusion of additional names on an elder’s bank signature card;
  3. Unauthorized withdrawal of the elder’s funds using the elder’s ATM card;
  4. Abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents;
  5. Unexplained disappearance of fund or valuable possessions;
  6. Substandard care being provided or bills unpaid despite the availability of adequate financial
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