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Are you financially exploited or physically abused by someone? Do you notice items missing from you home? Do you feel that someone you love is being exploited or abused?

Exploitation of senior citizens is a fast-growing form of abuse. Situations of financial exploitation and physical abuse commonly involve trusted persons in the life of the senior citizen, such as:


  • Caretakers

  • Family members

  • Neighbors

  • Friends and acquaintances

  • Attorneys

  • Bank employees

  • Pastor

  • Doctors or nurses


One in nine seniors reported being abused, neglected or exploited. The rate of financial exploitation is extremely high, with 1 in 20 older adults indicating some form of perceived financial mistreatment occurring in the recent past. Elder abuse is vastly under-reported. Most of the time, family members are not aware their loved ones are being financially exploited. In rare instances, when a senior citizen does realize they have been exploited, they do not report it, for reasons of embarrassment.


Common Scams by “Professionals”

  • Predatory Lending – seniors pressured into taking out reverse mortgages/loans.

  • Annuity sales – the senior may be pressured into using the equity realized from a reverse mortgage, to buy an expensive annuity which may not mature until the person is well into their 90’s or over 100.

  • Investment/securities schemes – pyramid schemes; unrealistic returns promised; dealer is not licensed.

  • Internet phishing – false emails about bank accounts.

  • Identity theft – credit cards opened fraudulently, etc.

  • Medicare scams – these are the costliest in terms of the dollar amounts.


Common Ways Family Members and Trusted Others Exploit Senior Citizens

  • Using a Power of Attorney, given by the victim to allow another person to handle his/her finances, as a license to steal the victim’s monies for the perpetrator’s own use.

  • Taking advantage of joint bank accounts in the same way.

  • Using ATM cards and stealing checks to withdraw monies from the victim’s accounts.

  • Threatening to abandon, hit or harm the victim unless he or she gives the perpetrator what he/she wants.

  • Refusing to obtain needed care and medical services for the victim in order to keep the person’s assets available for the abuser.

  • In-home care providers charging for services; keeping change from errands, paying bills which don’t belong to the vulnerable adult, asking the vulnerable adult to sign falsified time sheets, spending their work time on the phone and not doing what they are paid to do.

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